Story Sounds

by Nancy Stewart
(206) 232-1078
Simple ways to use rhythm instruments to improve listening skills 
and help integrate music into storytime

Name those sounds! - A simple listening game

First play each instrument and tell children its name.
Then hide instruments from view, play each one,
and have children guess what it is.

Talk about the sounds - ask children:

1.What is this instrument made of? (wood, metal, plastic, etc.)

2. Compare instruments. Which is louder? Which is softer?

3. As you play each instrument, ask what animal it reminds children of?

4. Have children close their eyes and keep them closed as you play instrument. Tell them to open their eyes only when the sounds stops ( children will notice that some make sounds that last longer than others, like the triangle as opposed to the wood block).

Echo the sounds - Play a simple rhythm pattern, and have children copy it.(you might want to try this with hand claps first).

Read a story with the sounds - Use sounds to make "sound effects", or read a story that has repeating sounds or is accumulative. Following are just a few examples. Many other books will work.

1. Read Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones- Have children play rhythm sticks every time and chant, "Bones, bones, we look for bones, we look for the bones of the dinosaurs"

2. Read and sing Bought Me A Cat. Assign different animals to instruments, and have children play when their animal is mentioned.

3. Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly- same as above.

Make up a story with the sounds-

4. This is easy and fun to do if you have already asked children what animals each instru- ment makes them think of. Then make up a short simple story, and have children play each animal’s sound as it is named in the story.

5. Same as above, but using other themes, such as vehicles, foods, colors, any category.

See the sounds - This is a very simple activity which uses pictures from one or more books.

1. Hold up pictures which show quiet and loud activities ( example: a baby sleeping, a big truck) and tell children to play loudly or softly in response to the pictures. 2.Hold up pictures which show fast or slow activities ( example: A race car, a baby crying). Tell children to play fast or slow in response to the pictures.

March to the sounds - This simple activity is always popular with preschoolers, and shouldn’t be overlooked. You can simply march around to recorded music, or relate the music to the book you are reading for storytime. For example, if you are reading a story about a train, play a train song. Many story themes can be easily reinforced with recorded music. Children also love to dance and freeze when the music stops.