Let’s create a map of the sounds you hear around you! Age 5+ if working with an adult; 8+ if kids are working independently; 5-10 minutes.
This activity is a great way to get kids into their senses, slow down and listen to the world around them. All you’ll need is a pencil, paper, and hard writing surface such as a clipboard or book, per person. Find a spot away from loud noise if possible, so you’ll be able to hear a variety of sounds.
Show kids how you can draw a sound map with yourself in the middle (you can mark your spot with an X or draw a simple person) and then add three or four landmarks behind and in front of you, showing how to mark those locations on the map. Once this is done, it’s time to listen and mark the sounds you hear on your map, placing them in the general direction you’re hearing them. Show kids how you can either draw a simple picture of what you think is making the sound, or write down what you think it is, or write how it sounds (“keer, keer, keer” for example, to approximate an animal sound).
Once you’ve demonstrated, ask kids to each pick their own spot to sit, listen, and create their own sound maps. Tell them you’ll check in in 5 minutes (or however long you think will work for your kids). After 5 minutes, stop by and find out if they need more time. Some kids may enjoy filling in many details on their maps, and others may be done as soon as they hear the same sound twice.
Once you’re gathered again, ask if anyone would like to share their sound map and describe what they heard. It’s ok if some sounds can’t be identified. Did anyone hear any of the same sounds? Did you have similar or different ideas about what made that sound? What was the loudest sound you heard? The quietest? How were the sounds different in the beginning vs. the end of our time listening?