Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sound Jars

This project has been in the works for a while now. I first saw this while exploring Montessori activities online and thought my kids would really enjoy it. One of the key beliefs in Montessori schooling is the refining of the senses , developing visual, tactile and auditory discrimination. Therefore, they do a lot of sensory activities that are supposed to help the child discriminate between different sounds. One of the activities they do is called "sound jars". These can easily be made at home, and I will show you how I made them.

Gather your materials--stickers, several 35 mm film canisters, and small objects that make different sounds. Fill each fill canister with different objects, making a match for each object (fill two with rice, two with paper clips, two with jingle bells, etc). Then put a sticker on the bottom of each canister, making sure that the matching sounds also have matching stickers on the bottom. The purpose of the stickers is to provide the child with a way to self correct, which is also a core belief in Montessori schooling. He picks up two canisters, shakes them, and determines if the sounds match. He can turn them over to see if the stickers match--if they do, he has indeed found a match.

I stored mine in an old egg carton, but they can be stored however you wish. Also, I posted on craigslist in the wanted section for someone willing to donate film canisters and only had to wait about a week for a response, so if you're wondering how I got so many film canisters when everyone is using digital these days, that's how! Also note that since the film canisters do open, this would only be appropriate as a supervised activity, or for children who know not to put things in their mouths. You could also try hot gluing them shut, but since my kids are older, I didn't bother with that.

Little Bean did really well with this activity. He was able to match all the sounds. The hardest part for him was just being willing to see the activity through until the end. Miss O really enjoyed shaking the canisters, but she wasn't able to match them, except for the ones that were very obvious, like the rice. Try this with your little one. It's very quick to make and can be played again and again!

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