This is my go to activity for babies and children when I need a quick and easy distraction. I like to give children a wide range of objects and materials to use such as pots, pans, pie tins, tupperware, biscuit tins, silverware, wooden spoons and whisks. It’s a great activity for babies and toddlers to do on their own for short periods of time to help build their independent play but it’s also a nice thing to do together. Taking turns hitting the pots and copying what they do is a great way to bond with your child and continue to build attachments.
Providing a range of different objects to hit and to hit with allows the opportunity to explore different sounds. Children can begin to explore volume by hitting objects made of different materials, or by hitting them with more or less force. You can create a wider range of interesting sounds to explore if you have objects made of different materials such as wood, plastic and different types of metal.
Questions to ask
- Can you make the sound louder or softer?
- What happens when you use something else to hit it?
- What happens when you turn it over and hit the other side?
- Can you make a pattern?
What they get from it
It allows children to explore different sounds, which is good for pre phonics (tuning into different sounds) and early science (how to change sounds and how changing variables affects sounds). Older children can be given the opportunity to explore how changing different variables (such as the size of the object, the shape or the material) can impact on sound. This could provide an excellent opportunity for children to engage in enquiry based learning by giving them the opportunity to examine and test different variables for themselves. Children can explore making patterns with sounds (early maths – algebraic thinking).
Take it further
- See my post on making a Music Wall.
- Play ‘Lion and Mouse’- when you hold up a lion picture or a lion puppet they are to play the objects as loud as they can, and when you hold up a picture of a mouse or a mouse puppet they have to play them as quietly as they can (see “Adjust the Volume” from Letters and Sounds, Phase 1, 2007 p.15). This is also a great practice for children who may have difficulty controlling the volume of their voices… It helps them begin to think about volume and how to turn it up and down.
- Get children to try to make the sound that they think different animals would make. Children could make and match sounds that go with their different dolls or stuffed animals. You could make it a game by holding up the different stuffed animals and ask them to make the sound that goes with the animal (see “Animal Sounds” from Letters and Sounds, Phase 1, 2007 p.17).
- Older children can begin to think about why there might be different types and volumes of sounds. They can explore how to make changes in order to get different volume and pitches by changing the size of the object or the type of material they are hitting. Children could be given the opportunity to engage in enquiry based learning by being allowed to explore and test their own theories about how sound is effected by different variables.
Department for Education and Skills (2007). Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics. Great Britain: Primary National Strategy. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190599/Letters_and_Sounds_-_DFES-00281-2007.pdf (Accessed 2 August 2019).