Why are some sounds loud and some sounds soft? Use your scientific inquiry skills to learn more about sound and how it works. This section features videos and interactive activities that support the Sounds digital backpack of family activities.


3 Books:

  • Sounds All Around Us by Wendy Pfeffer
  • Oscar and the Bat: A Book About Sound by Geoff Waring
  • Show Me How I Can Make Music by Michael Purton

Activity: What’s the Buzz?

Materials: Noise makers (plastic containers with beans or rice)

Read Together

Asking your child questions as you read helps them think about the story and encourages them to ask their own questions. Here are some sample questions to ask your child as you read Oscar and the Bat, A Book About Sound by Geoff Waring. In this book Oscar investigates a meadow. A meadow is a field outside with plants and animals.

  • On page 13, notice that one of the items that makes sound on this page is not an animal.
  • On page 16, point out the big words. Ask why the author did that.
  • On page 18 draw attention to the size of the letters in the words pitter and patter. Do you think the sound is loud or soft?
  • Try the experiment described under “Making Sounds” by placing your fingers on your throat and singing or talking. Have your child describe how the sound feels. Remind them that the sound is what we hear when something vibrates or moves.

Play Together

  • Read the book Show Me How I Can Make Music by Michael Purton and then create your own musical instruments. Use boxes, cartons, plastic containers and other items to make drums. String rubber bands over containers to make harps. Use bottles to blow over to make flutes. Wrap rubber bands around kitchen cupboard handles. What happens when the rubber bands are tightened?
  • Go on a nature hike. Listen to the many sounds. Make a list of the sounds and tally how many you hear or categorize the sounds. How many vehicles? How many birds? How many insects? How many animals? How many people?
  • How many different sounds can you make? Create sounds that are: scary, soft, happy, sad, silly, musical.

Online Activities

Join Sally, Nick, and the Cat in the Hat as they travel to Gongolia to find the missing note to Sally's song.


Help Sally, Nick, and the Cat in the Hat make some sounda - pa - looza's for the concert.


Make an instrument that anyone can play—a kazoo—and get the buzz on sound vibrations!

CPB Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Education Iowa PBS
PBS Kids
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