Sound Experiments for kids

Posted on May 9th, 2020 by shineuser

Exploring the science of sound with kids is both interesting and fun! So what is sound?

Sound is a vibration that grows as an acoustic wave, through a medium like gas, liquid or solid. We interpret these vibrations and waves via our ears and brains. Only acoustic waves that have frequencies lying between about 20 Hz and 20 kHz can be heard by humans. Sound waves above 20 kHz are known as ultrasound and are not audible to humans. Sound waves below 20 Hz are known as infrasound. Different animal species have varying hearing ranges.

Sound waves travel into our ear canals until they reach the eardrum. The eardrum passes the acoustic vibrations through the middle ear bones and into the inner ear. The inner ear is shaped like a tiny snail and called the cochlea. Inside the cochlea, there are thousands of tiny cells that look like little hairs. These cells change the vibrations into electrical signals that are sent into our brains through the hearing nerve. The brain tells you that you are hearing a sound and what that sound is.(source)

With the following fun experiments you can demonstrate sound and experiment with music!

Xylophone Water Glasses

Musical instruments are so much fun to make!

This sound activity shows how different amounts of water in containers change the pitch of the sound created.

Supplies Needed:

What to Do:

1. Fill each glass with varying amounts of water.

2. Add a few drops of food coloring to each glass to give it a fun twist.

3. Using the spoon,  tap the outside or top of each glass. What sounds are being made? Which glasses have the highest or lowest pitch?

Play around with the water levels in each glass and experiment with pitch! You can even add more glasses and try to create your own songs. Try simple songs like “Twinkle, twinkle little star.”

Listen to Sounds Travel Underwater

Sound travels well through air, but it travels even better through water! This easy sound experiment is best outside on a terrace or balcony, or even perhaps in the bath. The best of course is if you can do it underwater in a pool or a beach.

Supplies Needed:

What to Do:

1. After filling the bucket with water, take a sharp knife or kitchen scissors and cut off the bottom of the plastic water bottle. Take the cap is off of the bottle.

2. Instruct your child to place the bottle in the water so that the cut bottom is in the water. Your child will then put his or her ear to the top of the bottle to listen.

3. Using the kitchen knives, clang them together to make a sound, but do this in the bucket of water as your child is listening. What does your child hear?

Your child has probably noticed that the sound of the clanging is loud and clear. Sound travels faster through water than in the air, and animals that live underwater are able to hear sound clearly. Whales and dolphins are well known to make sounds and communicate underwater. In fact you can hear whale sounds several kilometers away.

Whales can also emit low frequency sound waves which we cannot hear. These sound waves can travel very far in water without losing energy. Researchers believe that some of these low frequency sounds can travel more than 16,000 km in some levels of the ocean! Imagine being able to hear noises coming from that far away!

If you go to the beach this summer or are in a pool, try diving under the water and having someone make noise underwater. It’s interesting to use your sense of hearing in this way.

In some spas, they even play relaxing music in the pool water using underwater microphones. You can float with your ears submerged and listen to the music.

Paper Cup Classic

Supplies Needed:

What to Do:

1. Start by cutting a long piece of string of at least 10 meters.

2. Poke a small hole at the bottom of each cup.

3. Using each end of the string, thread it through the bottoms of the cups, tying a large knot so that the string does not fall out of the cup. If you make the holes too large, use a washer or paper clip to hold the string in place so that it does not pull out of the cup.

4. Now stand further enough apart so that the string stretches taught between you. Be sure that the string does not touch any other object and that it remains suspended in air as you complete the experiment.

5. Taking turns, talk into the cup, while the other person listens by putting the cup to their ear. Tell your child to repeat what he or she hears after you have spoken and do the same in return!

After the experiment, explain to your child what is happening: sound waves created by talking through the cup travel through the line to the other end, converting back to sound on the opposite side!

source for the experiments, find more here:

Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni was a German physicist and musician. Labeled the father of acoustics, he is renowned for his research on vibrating plates and the calculation of the speed of sound for different gases. (wikipedia)

Chladni used metal plate covered in sand which he vibrated with a violin bow, and saw how the sand created various patterns depending on the kind of vibration.

Make your own Chladni Vibration Plate!

Supplies Needed:

What to Do:

  1. Turn your speaker on and place it inside the bowl. Your bowl needs to be big enough that the speaker sits inside.
  2. Cover the top of the bowl with your plastic wrap or wax paper, making sure that it is taught and stretched evenly across without any wrinkles. Hold it in place with the elastic band or some pieces of sticking tape.
  3. Sprinkle some salt onto the top.
  4. Choose a song with a lot of bass or use the following video to play on the speaker in the bowl.

Watch to see what happens! Your child should be delighted at the way the salt dances on top of the bowl when the bass vibrates the plastic or wax covering.

Don’t forget, we rent instruments and offer online music lessons! Contact us!

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6 Musical Games for Kids to play at home

Posted on March 20th, 2020 by shineuser


1. Musical statues and musical chairs

Musical statues or musical chairs is an excellent game for developing auditory discrimination. Children have to listen carefully to the difference between sound and silence and engage their entire bodies during play. You can play musical statues only with your child, but musical chairs are best played with at least 3 or 4 family members or friends. They both work different motor skills, so you should try them out. Musical statues are great for developing body control and strengthening your body in the “freeze” positions. Musical chairs, on the other hand, teach children to move through things and get a feel for their position in space as they run around trying to find a chair to sit on, without hitting others.

How to play musical statues:
Play music on a CD player or cell phone. While the music plays, everyone dances around the room. One person in charge of the game stops the music every now and then and everyone should freeze in the exact position they were dancing in when the music stopped.
If you move, you are “out”. For young children, it’s a lot of fun to keep freezing without anyone “going out.”

How to Play Musical Chairs:
Place chairs around the room (one for each player). Play music on a CD player or cell phone. As the music plays, everyone dances around the room. Again the person in charge should remove a chair while everyone dances, then they stop the music every now and then and everyone should run and sit in one of the chairs. Whoever did not get to the chair on time is “out”.
Repeat, removing one chair at a time until two people remain and the one who sits first in the remaining chair is the winner

2. Pass the parcel

Traditionally played at birthday parties, this game is not new. Play at home and you will make your children move and listen carefully. It can be played in two (going back and forth), but if there are 3 or more players, you can pass the parcel around from one to the next in a circle formation.

How to play Pass the pack:
Wrap any object in many layers of newspaper or wrapping paper. You could back cookies and wrap them in the center, get the kids to help wrap, or even to help to make the paper by decorating the newspaper with paint beforehand. Make the layers easy to remove. Play music on a CD player or cell phone. The package is passed clockwise (teach your child this word while doing so!) When the music stops, the person holding the package can remove a wrap layer. When the music continues, the packet continues to be passed along, until the music stops again and another layer is removed.
The person who removes the final layer of wrapping to reveal the package is the winner.
Change direction for each new round (clockwise to counterclockwise).
Make sure the package is received with both hands and passed to the next person with both hands (to make sure you cross the middle line, which is a good exercising technique )

3. A little elephant

In this game, you will teach your children to count and understand how numbers increase in value by 1 each time, and will also practice the important ability to balance and walk in a straight line.

These are the lyrics:
A small elephant swinging
step by step on a piece of string.
I thought it was tremendous fun.
(Insert name) called another elephant to come.
Two little elephants …
Three little elephants …
Five little elephants swinging
Step by Step. a piece of string
Then the rope broke and everyone fell. ¡
No more little elephants!

How to Play A Little Elephant:
Put a piece of string on the floor. Start the game by being the first elephant to walk the length of the rope and use your arms to balance yourself. Sing the song together. Choose a child to join the second verse and continue until all the players walk step by step on the rope. For the last verse, the rope breaks and everyone collapses on the floor

4. How many instruments can you hear?

In this game, the objective is to listen and identify different instruments. Your child must have had some exposure to the instruments and recognize the basics. But if not, it’s a fun way to learn about the different instruments.
We have included some videos you can play.

How to play How many instruments?
Play a song on a CD player or cell phone. Any Song with various instruments will do (try the song below or search YouTube for the instrumental version of songs) You and your child each have a piece of paper and you must draw the instruments you hear. At the end of the song, compare drawings and see who heard the most amount of different instruments.


Here is a song you can use to identify various instruments:

5. Match the Sounds

For this activity you will need a variety of basic instruments (or even handmade or improvised instruments). The goal is to listen to the music and try to find the right instruments that match or blend well with the sound. Play a song and use your instruments to play along.

Some examples:
Hitting a triangle (or two pieces of cutlery together) for small, loud sounds. Hitting the drums or a box for a slow deep voice. Bang the cymbals together (or pot lids) for a loud, high sound. Shake or rattle bells or a tambourine for fast music. There are no rules here. Demonstrate a song first by making suggestions about what elements might match the sounds and ask for your child’s input. Then play songs and let your child freely play their choices with music.

6. Draw the music

In this activity, children literally draw music as they listen to it. Provide pieces of paper and pencils or wax crayons and ask your child to draw what he hears.

They could draw:
How the music makes them feel. Draw wavy lines or zig-zags to represent slow, flowing music or fast, choppy music. Draw the rhythms they hear (for example, drawing short and long lines for short and long sounds)

Allow your child to surprise you with the way he interprets and draws music. Draw your own performance at the same time and see how your images differ.


At Shine Music School we are offering A free trial online music lesson. We also rent instruments! 


Thanks to  Empowered Parents for some of the great ideas here, visit their blog to find more activities and other useful musical info.

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