The raindrops on the windows during a recent storm inspired us to experiment with sounds. I got out our play bag of raw beans, and we gathered various containers to see the differences in sound created when the beans hit each material.
Setting Up the Experiment
Looking around the kitchen for containers was a fun way to get my 4 year old into the project. We gathered a metal can, a paper cup , a glass jar, my son’s favorite plastic cup, and a ceramic bowl.
We used raw black beans because I keep a bag of them handy for our activities, but any small hard object would work – rice, pasta, split peas, even cereal. Next time we might use different types of objects to see the contrasting noise. Or different colored beans to make it pretty.
Our Sound Experiment
I poured the beans into a glass cup measure and my son went to town pouring the beans into each container. He liked the metal can the best (it was the loudest).
We also noted the difference between dropping the beans into a partially full container and an empty one. And G compared pouring close to the container and lifting his arm high above and pouring.
Of course, he decided to build a tower out of the containers when he was done pouring!
Although beans went everywhere, clean up was part of the fun. One suggestion to minimize the mess is to only provide as many beans as fit in the shallowest of the containers. I didn’t do this, and the resulting overflow earned such a big laugh, the cascading beans were worth it.