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Making Outdoor Sounds

What kinds of sounds can you make outdoors?


  • ruler, paint stirrer, or other stick for each child
  • audio recorder
  • clipboard and pencil

Key Science Concepts

  • Different objects make different sounds.
  • Sounds can vary in volume (loud and soft) and pitch (high and low).
  • Sounds have a source—a sound can be tracked to its source.


Introduce, use, and reinforce key terms such as louder and softer; descriptive words such as scraping, scratching, bumping, banging, ringing; and science process words such as compare, notice, observe, and record.


Ask, What sounds can you make on outdoor surfaces?

  1. Offer them a stick, a ruler, or a paint stirrer to tap on or drag along different surfaces (bumpy brick and blacktop surfaces, fence railings, slatted benches, the different poles and surfaces of the slide and other playground equipment, etc.). Share discoveries. Encourage children to imitate or describe the sounds they make.
  2. Use the audio recorder to record some of the sounds they make. Jot down things the children say and do.

Reflect and Share

Invite children to talk about their sound-making experiences outdoors. Use your notes to share examples of what various children said and did. Play your audio recordings and see if children can recall and identify the sounds you recorded. Children may also wish to draw some of the objects they made noise with. Ask:

  • Everyone used a stick to tap on something. What were the different things you tapped on?
  • What were some of the loudest sounds you were able to make? How did you make those sounds?
  • Can you (hit, bang, tap) the same thing in a different way to make the sound softer? How would you do that?