Lessons from Nature: Sound Detective

We would like to introduce the revamped Nature p.L.A.y. website! We are expanding the variety of information we post by including regular features such as:
News and Information
Spotlight on Local Organizations
& others

We launch this new format with an exciting and easy lesson you can do with your nature-hungry child!

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. – Rachel Carson

Lessons from Nature:

Sound Detective

Objective: a) To simultaneously build an appreciation for nature and music. b) Help your child distinguish one sound from several. c) Help your child to notice sonic details in his/her natural environment. d) To allow your child to mimic and interpret what he or she hears.

At Home: Before setting out on a nature walk ask your child to tell you all that they know about music. Share what you know about rhythm, tone, melody, etc. Don’t feel you have to be a music expert. Share what you truly know or think you know.
Tell your child they are a “Sound Detective”. They are to sit quietly in one spot for thirty seconds to one minute and listen for as many sounds as they can find. You will tell them when time is up. Then ask them to share with you the sounds they found. Feel free to share the sounds you noticed as well. Now tell your child you will be going on a nature walk where this Sound Detective is going to have to be very quiet and listen for as many sounds as they can find in nature. Ask them what sounds they think they might hear while on the trail.

*On the Trail: Make sure before you begin walking that you remind them a) they are a sound detective b) they are to be very quiet because some sounds may be very soft and they don’t want to miss ANY sounds c) to remember what they hear.
As you’re walking it is time to listen! It is important that you listen as well. After about 5 minutes check in with them and ask them what they have found so far. If they seem to be focused only on certain sounds such as bird sounds remind them to listen for leaves, bugs, wind, etc.

Enjoy the discovery with your child!

*For ideas of where in the Los Angeles area to take your child please see our list of parks in the right column or contact me directly.

After the Walk: You can talk about what you heard. Ask them what they think made those sounds. Can they imitate the sound? with their voice? with their hands? with the aid of some household items such as paper, pots, sticks, rattles, etc?
You can extend this activity, if you like, to create an improvised song. Pick five sounds that you can use to create an improvised symphony! Start with a repetitive sound and add embellishment using up to four other sounds.

After you complete this activity I would love to hear about how it went! Please send me all and any feedback.

– Ilana Gustafson Turner


One response to “Lessons from Nature: Sound Detective

  1. Listening to the sounds of nature is a great way to get kids quiet enough to really hear the world around them. My son & I call it the “listening game.”

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