Sound Boxes

Two boxes, each with a set of six cylinders:

  • One set has red tops
  • One set has blue tops
  • The sounds in the red set match their counterpart in the blue set.
  • Each cylinder when shaken makes a different sound, ranging from loud to very soft


Before inviting the child, check the sound boxes and arrange them so that your first three cylinders (the cylinders with the greatest contrast in sound) are lined up in a row. Invite a child to come and work with you. Bring him over to the shelves and show him the sound boxes. Tell him that you will be showing him the sound boxes today. Have him carry the red box to the table. Have him place the red box near the top of the table. Then have him bring over the blue box and place it to the right of the red box. Then have the child sit to your left.

– Take out the three red cylinders with the greatest contrast and place them in a line.
– Close the red box.
– Bring the first cylinder down in front of you and show the child how to hold the cylinder using your fingertips and thumb. (So you are lightly holding the cylinder.)
– Bring the cylinder up to your right ear and shake it in a steady motion 2-3 times.
– Place the cylinder on the table and hold it in your other hand.
– Shake the cylinder near your left ear 2-3 times.
– Place the cylinder in front of the child and have him listen using both ears.
– Repeat for the other two cylinders.
– Replace the three red cylinders in a row.
– Take out the three blue cylinders that match the three red cylinders and close the blue box.
– Mix them and place them in a row to the right of the red cylinders but with ample space between.
– Bring the first red cylinder down in front of you.
– Listen with both ears.
– Bring down the first blue cylinder in the line.
– Listen using both ears.
– If it is not a match to the red cylinder, place the blue cylinder to the right of the blue row and bring down the next blue cylinder from the row.
– Repeat until you have found a match.
– If it is a match to the red cylinder, allow the child to listen to both and place them side-by-side in between the red and blue cylinder line.
– Repeat to match all of the three red and blue cylinders.
(Do not shake both cylinders at the same time.)
– Once they are all matched, check by shaking one at each ear.
– Place the red cylinders back in a row and mix the blue cylinders before also placing them in a row.
– Allow the child work with the material.


Exercise 1
The child works individually with the three cylinders of contrast as shown during the presentation.

Exercise 2
The child is shown how to match all six of the pairs in a similar way as with the three cylinders. The child may then work with all of the sound cylinders.

Exercise 3
The child is shown how to grade the cylinders using only one set. Begin by listening for the two that are the most different. Place them in a row but with ample space between them. Then find the cylinder that is almost like the first. Grade them from loudest to softest.

Exercise 4
The child is shown how to grade using both boxes. The child grades the red and then he grades the blue. He can then check by matching the red and blue cylinders.

Exercise 5
The child can grade as pairs using both boxes.

Matching at a distance
Grading from an extreme
Grading from a midpoint
Guess the sound (Using any object or sound producing thing, making the sound in a place not visible, and having the children guess what made the sound.)


Loud and Soft
The positives, comparatives, and superlatives.


To refine the auditory sense.

Control of Error
The ability of the child to discriminate the sounds.


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