Teaching Kids How Sound is Made

It’s a well known fact that from the time they are babies, children love cause and effect. If I shake this rattle I hear a sound. When I push my toy car, it rolls along the floor. When I bang a wooden spoon on this saucepan it makes a noise. Lots of noise!

Cause and effect is how children learn to control and interact with their environment, and understanding cause and effect helps to develop problem solving skills. With that in mind, I created this fun activity for my three year old son, R, to give him a visual understanding of how sound is created when he bangs a drum.

This experiment was so much fun! It took only minutes to put together, we made lots of noise, quite a bit of mess, and we learned quite a lot as well!


To demonstrate how sound is made you will need:

  • Containers of various sizes (empty tin cans and bowls work well)
  • Chopsticks or wooden spoons to act as drumsticks
  • Cellophane paper and extra large balloons for the drumskins
  • Various materials to bounce on the drums (we used rice, flour, dried beans and marbles)
  • Rubber bands
  • Pair of scissors

rice and marbles

How to play in 3 simple steps:

1. Make your drums. Using the scissors, cut the end off the balloon (the part you would blow into). Now stretch the balloon over your chosen container and you’re done! Instant drum. For your next drum, cut the cellophane paper to fit over one of your other containers and secure with a rubber band. There! Two drums made in minutes.

2. Set up your experiment. Add various items such as rice, dried beans or marbles to the top of each drum.

3. Play! Now start banging those drums and watch the rice, beans and marbles fly all over the place!

drum collage

This was great fun and there were plenty of giggles and shouts as we played. You could extend the learning potential of this activity by asking questions such as:

  • Which drum surface causes the objects on top to bounce the highest?
  • Which drum surface causes the objects on top to bounce for the longest time?
  • Which objects have the most bounce?
  • How are the results affected if you bang your drumstick softly or more heavily?

Check out these other fun Quirky Momma posts on teaching kids about sound and other body senses:

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About Ness

Ness is the creator of One Perfect Day a site full of creative ideas for kids to play and learn, family recipes, children’s book reviews and information about positive parenting and connecting with our children. Ness loves creating fun kids’ activities and has decided that permanently having paint under her fingernails and play dough in her hair is a fashion statement. You can find One Perfect Day on Facebook and Twitter or follow along on Pinterest