Bloomsbury Early Years - Shake it
Bloomsbury Early Years

Activity Type:


Characteristics of Effective Learning:

Finding out & exploring

Type of Content:


Related Activities

Shake it

Rhythm and beat

by Sally Featherstone


Making and listening to sounds as you and your friends make them, is a key feature of learning to read. In this activity children experiment with different sounds by adding different objects to shakers and listening to the sound they make.

What you need

  • Empty plastic bottles with screw tops

  • Lentils, small beads, gravel, sequins, dried beans and other seeds

  • Funnels and spoons

Helpful hints

  • Individual water bottles are great, but other small bottles with screw tops are suitable too, and it's a good idea to have several sizes, as they will make different sounds. Tiny bottles, such as travel shampoo containers make good sounds too.

What you do

  • Put the bottles and the fillings on a table and explain to the children that you are going to make some sound bottles.

  • Show them how to use the funnels and spoons to put fillings into their chosen bottles, trying different objects and different amounts. Show them how to test by shaking and listening until they are satisfied. Give plenty of time for listening and experimenting.

  • When the children are happy with their sound bottle, help them to tighten the tops.

  • Now use the sound makers in all sorts of games and challenges, such as: accompanying songs and rhymes; making sound effects for stories and beating out the rhythms of words.

Ready for more?

  • Make some more shakers from recycled materials such as cardboard tubes, metal tins with plastic tops, bunches of ring pulls, even plastic or metal dustbin lids.

  • Hang old cutlery and saucepans from fences and trees to make wind chimes or outdoor sound makers.

Look, listen and note

  • Listening attentively

  • Sing songs, make music and dance

  • Moving and handling (ELG04) Good control and co-ordination Move confidently Handle equipment and tools effectively including pencils for writing

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