You want to teach your toddler about the science of sound. Where do you start?
Sound is a form of energy that we can hear. How do we hear this energy? Sound energy is actually a vibration, or movement back and forth, that travels in waves. When those waves reach your ear, part of the inside of your ear turns the sound energy into electrical energy, which goes to the brain for interpretation. Then your brain says, hey, that’s sound! These sound waves created by vibrations have to travel through something to get to your ear. They can travel through water, like when you shout underwater at the pool, through air, like during a conversation at the dinner table, or through solid matter, like when you put your ear up against a door to listen in on a conversation...wait, what? No, I don’t do that.
Laying a foundation to understand sound energy is super fun. You want your toddler to understand that sound energy is the energy of vibrations. I’ll share some ways you can actually see and feel these vibrations together.
Time to Play!
- Put your child’s hand on your vocal cords and make different sounds. Your science tyke will be able to feel your vocal cords vibrating. They will enjoy feeling their own vocal cords vibrating as well. My science tyke loves it when we pat her back as she’s making sounds. The change in the vibrations sounds hilarious.
- Take rubber bands and stretch them over anything. We stretched them over a piece of cereal box. Strum the rubber bands and watch them vibrate. Don’t forget to talk about what you’re doing. Use the word vibration, or moving back and forth, and explicitly say that vibrations make the sounds we hear.
- Watch how things jump when they are vibrating. Take wax paper, a paper bag, or any thin material and attach it to the open top of a container. I just went to the recycling box and grabbed a tofu box and used a rubber band to keep the wax paper on. You could use an aluminum baking pan turned upside down, a plastic bag tightly taped to the lid of a jar, or try out different combinations. Next, add some salt. This was my tyke’s favorite part because we never let her have the salt shaker. And lastly, tap the paper top and watch the salt jump! We tapped the top with our fingers, plastic straws, and a plastic spoon. Don’t forget to talk about how the vibrations are making the salt jump!
Stay tuned to Science Tyke Adventures for more sound fun. We’ll explore how different types of sounds are made in our next post.