Narrator (Catherine Sewell, play specialist): Playing with sound is exploring all the sounds that we either hear, or that we can make.
Children of different ages will be exploring sound in different ways. So, it might be about sounds that they can hear. You know, the dog barking or the different voices that they hear. But it almost might be even a small baby working out that when they touch this cupboard it makes a different sound as when they rub their hand on the carpet. So, it’s about exploring the aural world.
There’s many ways that you can play with sound. Of course, you can listen to music. We can dance to music, but we can also make our own music and, if you don’t have access to musical instruments, you can actually create your own musical instruments quite easily. With an old bottle, you can fill it up with a little bit of rice and that becomes a shaker. Or pots and pans turned over with some wooden spoons and you’ve got yourself a drum. So, even tapping on all sorts of different objects is going to create different sounds, and, of course, the main instrument that you have is your voice. Children love to sing.
We can sing, we can whisper, we can create character voices. We can explore echo and, when the voice or noises come back to us, there’s a whole different experience. Or through a tube so amplifying, making sound bigger. We can also explore even with just our own voice going high, going low, going loud, going soft, so looking at extremes of sound is really interesting.
As children get older, you’ll see them being able to moderate their own voice and their own levels of sound better as they’ve played with it more, so they’re able to understand that yes, that voice was quite loud and actually the normal speaking voice is lower than that, but they need to develop that awareness through play and through experience.
We need to think about playing with sound as all sound, and playing with sound can be just taking a moment to be quiet with your children to see what they can hear in their environment. Can you hear a bird tweeting? Can you hear a car going past or a plane? Sometimes the absence of sound, when it’s not there, when we’re quiet, there’s a whole world of tiny sounds that come out to play as well.
Another great thing to do is to use your own body to make sound. So, clapping or clicking. Even practising clicking is quite a complex thing to learn how to do as a child. What does it sound like to tap your legs or to clap up high. Kind of like a body percussion. And also classic games like musical chairs. Those sorts of games with those rules are really fun to play as well.
So, when we’re able to play with sound, we’re connecting the richness of all of our senses together.
Even if you have a non-hearing child, they’re also experiencing the feelings of vibrations, because sound is also vibrations and movement.
When we’re exploring sound, it is across all ages and all abilities and it’s starting to develop those rich connections in the brain and really developing the senses from lots of different angles for a child. It’s not just about sight. It’s about touch. It’s about hearing. It’s about smelling. It’s about tasting. It’s all of the senses combined.