Discover the science of sound with musical instruments! Teaching pre-k and kindergarten students about science means hands-on activities and a lot of visuals. To be honest, I too learn best this way. It sparks a greater interest in learning and removes the monotony of sitting in one place completing worksheets. Hands-on activities are especially fun and needed when discovering one of the five senses.
Westco Educational Products offers many inexpensive, yet great quality instruments that can stand against the play and hands of little ones. From shakers to xylophones, Westco offers instruments that any child would gladly play. Their instruments are perfect for the hands of infants to late elementary aged children.
Musical instruments can be used for far more than creating songs. Using them can provide children with an energy-filled time of learning. My children and I got a chance to check out a few Westco instruments and are having fun using our imagination and creativity while creating cool sounds while learning. Although my girls enjoyed free play with egg shakers, rhythm sticks, and jangles and bells, I had fun creating a more structured play with the ideas I have shared below.
Using Musical Instruments in the Classroom
Learning Activity: Teach your students about pitch. These egg shakers have a unique sound and unique sounds can be made many ways.
Grab some empty plastic eggs and fill them with different objects or food, such as rice or lima beans. Compare the sounds to that of the egg shakers. Is the pitch high or low? What causes the change?
Fill glass bottles or jars with water and food coloring, being sure to add a different amount of water in each bottle. Have your students gently tap each bottle to discover the unique sound. Does less water create a low or high pitch?
Add this set of of sight word cards to help you as you teach.
Learning Activity: Teach about syllables. Currently working on learning sight words? Along with teaching identification, use an instrument to teach about the amount of syllables in each word.
Tap the rhythm sticks together to identify each syllable, starting slowly and getting quicker as the student makes the connection. Whether it’s with rhythm sticks, cymbals or a tambourine, kids will enjoy learning new words with this activity.
Learning Activity: Discover the rain. Create a lesson plan that includes a discussion about the weather, specifically the rain. How do rain clouds form? Answer this question by creating rain clouds. If you have never made rain clouds, this is an activity you must try.
In a clear jar or container, add water, filling it ¾ of the way. Cover the top of the water with a layer of shaving cream, thicker in some areas. Allow students to add a few drops of food coloring to the top of the shaving cream. Wait a few moments and watch the “rain drops” make their way through the clouds and down to the “ground”. As the rain appears, use the Drip Drop, Jingle Jangle to create rain-like sound effects.
What is Sound?
I simply describe sound to the preschoolers in my life as invisible vibrations that move through the air and eventually reach our ears. Once the vibrations reach our ears, a message is sent to our brain and we then realize we have heard something. Young learners, especially, love to make sound so this lesson is typically quite easy for them to understand.
My favorite sounds to hear other than occasional peace and quiet are sounds of the organ, bass, drums, and horns. Simply put, my favorite sound to hear is music! I have passed my love of music down to my children, which probably explains why they create new songs each and every day. I love seeing and hearing them express their creativity and putting instruments in their hands is the perfect way to allow their musical talents come to life.
Teri Watters is a new homeschooler who enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. She’s also the creator of MommyWifeLife.com, where she regularly blogs about ways to keep the family connected through education, activities and new products.