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Sound Detectives

Tracking down sound mysteries.


  • five objects you can find around the house, such as a piece of paper, a stapler, a ball, a handful of marbles, a book.

Key Science Concepts

  • Sounds have a source.
  • An action has to take place for a sound to occur.
  • Different objects make different sounds.


Encourage children to use word that describe sound, such as crinkle, tap, knock, bang, thump. Invite them to also use words that help them practice their science skills, such as listen, describe, notice, discover.


In this activity, children try to identify objects by their sounds—even when they can’t see the objects.

  1. Keep the objects hidden from children. Tell them that they will be “sound detectives,” who have to identify an object just by listening to the sound you are going to make with it.
  2. Have the children face away from you. Stand behind them and make a sound with one of the objects. For example: wrinkle, wave, or rip the paper; staple, open, or knock over the stapler; toss and catch, bounce, or tap the ball. Each time ask, What do you hear? What do you think I did to make that sound? Show children the objects after they have guessed. Make sure children explain their answers. What made you think the sound came from the (stapler) and not the (ball or the sheet of paper)?

Play a second round, this time making different sounds with the objects.