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Music-Making Activities

The kitchen's alive with the sound of music! Or at least it will be when you and your kids try out these ear-teasing activities.

Guess the Sound
For ages 4 to 8
This activity will help your little ones learn about musical instruments and the different sounds they make. It will also help your kids fine-tune their listening skills.

What you'll need:

  • Blindfold;

  • Different musical instruments; and/or

  • Different-sized pots, pans, containers, wooden and metal spoons, and various other household items that might make interesting sounds.

What to do:

  1. Show your child all the "instruments."

  2. Blindfold your child. If your child is afraid of blindfolds, ask him to shut his eyes.

  3. Play each instrument and then ask your child to guess which one she's hearing. Try varying the noises. For example: Hit a pot with a wooden spoon and then with a metal spoon. Can your child tell the difference?

  4. Turn the tables. Let your child play the "instruments," and guess what you're hearing.

Make Sound Cylinders
For ages 5 to 9
This activity will help your kids hone their listening skills as they try to match similar sounds. It will also help them distinguish between different sound intensities and give them a chance to practice keeping the beat.

What you'll need:

  • 10 empty film canisters (or other small opaque containers);

  • 2 loud jingle bells (available at most craft stores);

  • 2 soft jingle bells,

  • 4 teaspoons beans (kidney, black-eyed, lima, or black);

  • 2 teaspoons uncooked rice;

  • 2 teaspoons salt.

What to do:

  1. You and your child can divide each of the above items by 2, and put each item in one of the 10 canisters. For example, put one loud bell in one canister and the other loud bell in another.

  2. Seal each canister.

  3. Ask your child to shake each canister and to describe whether the sound he hears is loud or soft, a jingle or a rattle.

  4. Once your child is familiar with the sounds and categories, ask him to match the pairs of sounds.

  5. Then your child can put the canisters in order from loudest to softest or vice-versa.

  6. Have your child try putting the items in larger containers (Tupperware-type containers work really well) and mix different items together to see how the sounds change.

  7. Turn on the radio and "play" along with your new noisemakers. Encourage your child to keep the beat.

Make a Rain Stick
For ages 8 to 14
This is a great activity for kids of all ages. You can help your little ones, and older kids can make the instrument on their own. Your kids will flex their creativity as they decorate the stick, and fine-tune their listening skills as they hear all the separate items in the tube mix together to make one rain-like noise.

What you'll need:

  • A mailing tube;

  • Packing tape;

  • An assortment of nails, un-popped corn, sand, gravel, and beads;

  • Lots of stuff to decorate the tube -- wrapping paper, markers, stickers, glue, etc.

What to do:

  1. Put above items in the tube. Fill it to about 1/4 inch from the top.

  2. Seal the tube tightly -- use packing tape if necessary.

  3. Have your child decorate the outside of the tube.

  4. Show your child how to move the tube slowly from side to side.

  5. Ask your child to listen to the noise it makes. What does it sound like? Rain, of course!

  6. Have your child experiment with the rain stick -- moving it slowly and then more quickly.

You and your child may find that "playing" the rain stick can be very relaxing!

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