This post includes an easy and fun science of sound activity for kids. My five-year-old is into science. I hope to help him nurture this interest so that he holds onto it for a lifetime. Every day he asks if we can do a science experiment. He loves tactile experiences. So we do lots of chemistry experiments with various materials such as baking soda, vinegar, flour, oil, corn starch, glue, milk, and water (not all together!).
Well, to be honest, lately I have not been in the mood for messy no matter which way I look at it. So, we've been doing lots of physics and physical science, generally. For example, we did loads of life science activities, tested electricity and made a homemade pulley over the summer.
Simple Science Experiments for Kids
Science of Sound Materials Needed to Make a Kazoo
- Toilet paper or paper towel roll
- Sharp pencil
- 4 x 4 piece of plastic (I cut a plastic bag)
- Rubber band
- Materials for decorating the paper roll (optional)
Steps to Make a Kazoo
- Decorate the paper roll (optional)
- Poke a hole equidistant from each end of the paper roll
- Place the piece of plastic over the end of the roll
- Tightly place the rubber band over the end of the roll to secure the plastic
What is Behind the Science of a Kazoo?
From Scientific America: “A kazoo is a very simple musical instrument, made up of a hollow pipe with a hole in it. The hole is covered by a membrane that vibrates, resulting in a buzzing sound when people sing, speak or hum into the pipe. … As they travel through the tube, some of the sound waves bounce off the walls of the instrument.”
Science of Sound Activity Discussion & Inquiry
- Encourage the child to hum through the holes. What happens to the sound of your voice?
- Encourage the child to hum different sounds like “mmm”, “llll”, “rrrrrr”, etc.
- Hum high. Hum low.
- Do you feel anything? Vibration?
- Where does the sound come from when you blow through the end? The small hole? Through the plastic?
- What happens if we move the placement of the small hole?
- Test the membrane: What happens if you use different types of plastic or wax paper for the membrane? Make it tighter. Make it looser.
- Test diameter: change the role to be wider, narrower
- Test length: change the role to be longer, shorter
- Test the size of the small hole: change the role to be smaller, bigger
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