Monday, August 26, 2013

Exploring Sounds with a Buzz Basket

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After making our adorable pool noodle bees, the boys craved more bee themed activities.  So I thought it would be fun to explore the sound that bees make by creating a buzz basket, complete with a buzz-tastic book (okay, I clearly made up a word).

Exploring sounds: a bee themed buzz basket from And Next Comes L

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I came up with the buzz basket idea after reading the Bumblebee Chunky Friend Storybook with the boys.  The book is about Busby Bumble, a bee who loses his buzz.  I thought we could turn the story into a hunt for Busby's lost buzz and boy, did J and K ever enjoy this activity!

This activity is a great precursor to studying music for a number of reasons.  It teaches kids to use their ears and listen to what's around them, even in nature.  It engages them to compare sounds and look for similarities.  We also imitated the buzz sounds using different "instruments."

To put the buzz basket together, I included two trumpet mouthpieces from way back yonder when I played trumpet.  Didn't know that I played trumpet?  Well, shame on you for not reading point #5 here.  Anyway, you can always leave the trumpet mouthpieces out if you don't have any.

I also included a homemade buzzing noisemaker.  You can find instructions on how to make your own from Teach Beside Me, Kiwi Crate, or Steve Spangler Science.  Ours isn't anything fancy or pretty, but it did the trick.

The last two items in the basket are the Bumblebee Chunky Friend Storybook and a straw whistle.  I made the straw whistle by cutting one end into a triangle.  Then you simply blow on the triangle end and it makes a loud buzzing/whistling sound.  The buzz basket, when put together, looked like this:

Exploring sounds: a bee themed buzz basket from And Next Comes L

I started off by reading the Bumblebee Chunky Friend Storybook.  Then the boys started experimenting with the different instruments to see if they could locate Busby's buzz.

First up was K double fisting the trumpet mouthpieces.  He made no sound, but loved trying.

K trying to blow the trumpet mouthpieces from And Next Comes L

J managed to make some noise and giggled hysterically afterwards.

J blowing into the trumpet mouthpiece from And Next Comes L

Then I created some buzzing noises using the mouthpiece.  It sort of sounded like a bee, but J and K weren't so sure it was the buzz that we were looking for.  So we moved on to the straw whistle.  It took quite a bit of effort to make some noise with it, so neither boys were successful in making it buzz.  Instead, I blew on it for them.  Again, not quite the buzzing sound they were hoping to hear.

Then it was time for the buzzing noisemaker.  I quickly demonstrated how it worked.  BUZZZZZZZ!  Then K and J each tried it out.  Looks like we found the missing buzz after all!

K making buzz sounds from And Next Comes L

J making buzz sounds from And Next Comes L

This activity could be done with babies, only with you playing all the instruments for them.  Or you can even make the hunt for the buzz more challenging for older kids by including a wide variety of instruments with some that buzz and some that do not.  Then they can play all the instruments until they find the one that sounds like a bee.