All of our senses are things that we generally take for granted. Sights, sounds, and all sensations are important aspects of the human experience that we should seek to empower in our children. This means creating a great awareness for how these senses work and how they impact our lives. When it comes to sound, there are plenty of ways that you can make your child more keenly aware of what they are hearing, which can help them in a variety of ways, including making them more music. Here are some ways that you can better get your kids into sound and music…
Make a DIY Band with Your Child
To kick it off, start with some activities that help make your child more musical. Making recycled instruments is another great activity to try with your kids. For a really simple guitar, all you need is an empty tissue box and some rubber bands. Let your child decorate the box however he’d like, then strap a few rubber bands around the box and let him start crooning. If you’d like, you can add an arm to the guitar with a used paper towel roll.
For an easy-to-make tambourine, find a Y-shaped branch (preferably hardwood), a dozen metal bottle caps, and some strong wire. Let your child decorate the branch with paint and feathers while you hammer flat the metal bottle caps. Then, with a nail, punch a hole through the middle of each of the caps. String the caps on a piece of metal wire and tie it firmly between the branches of the Y. Make sure the wire is pulled taut. Then let your child go wild!
If you have a few extra metal cans lying around, try making your child a music station in your backyard. To do this, you’ll need some metal cans, wire, and washers. Punch a hole in the tops of a few metal cans. Then, string a wire through them and tie a washer on the wire below each can to hold the can in place. When you hold the wire up, the cans should line up on top of each other. Tie metal washers along the wire as well, so when your child hits the can, the washers along the line will bang against the cans and make noise. Let your children decorate the cans as they please, then give them a stick and let them bang away. To add more authenticity to the experience for your kids, turn your garage into a performance space where they can put on a show for you. This is a great way to teach them about music and rhythm and encourage their musical creativity. You just have to get used to a little ruckus.
Give Them a Good Way to Listen
Audio quality has never been taken more for granted than it is today. With the advent of digital music, many young people have gone their whole lives without hearing music through a high-fidelity sound system. Invite your child to listen to one of their favorite songs through some cheap earphones, then the same song through some high-quality speakers or headphones. This makes it a lot easier to hear the different components of a song, and lets them hear how they all mix together. The difference will help your child to appreciate the ability their ears have to make quality audio come to life.
Show Them Physical Copies of Music, Like Records
Go a step further and show your child a genuine phonograph record player up close. Chances are it’ll be something completely foreign to them and give them a new perspective on sound. Show them the needle running on the grooves of the record and explain to them how it all works. Draw a picture of a sound wave for a visual cue and explain to them that vinyl manages to make an exact mirror copy of the soundwaves, where the sound that comes from their digital devices only takes small snapshots of the wave and puts them together. By the end of your demonstration, your child may ask you to take them to the record store.
A Homemade Sound Wave Experiment
Further your child’s understanding of sound waves with a fun experiment. Cover a bowl with some saran wrap. Make sure the plastic is tight across the top to the point of being flat and smooth. Secure the wrap with a rubber band, then sprinkle some pepper on top of it. Then start making noise. When you child sees that the noise is causing the pepper to move, explain that it’s the vibration of the sound waves that are doing it.
Give A Tour of the Ear
Find or draw a diagram of the ear and give your child an insider look. Label each part of the ear and describe their function. Follow up later to help your child retain the information. With a deeper understanding of the ear, your child will appreciate the intricacies of the organ that allows them to hear.
Teach Them How to Listen to Their Own Voice
Have your child place their finger on the bulge of their throat and start singing. When they feel the vibration, explain that it’s the vocal chords coming together and causing the air to vibrate. Then have your child experiment with their voice, singing high and then low and feeling the difference in the vibrations. This will give your child an added appreciation and understanding of sound through the physical wonders of their own voice.