What's That Sound?

Learning Areas:

  • Music
  • Science


What is this activity?

ECSEL Standards

What skills are being enhanced? What knowledge is gained?


What do you need to prepare for this activity?

Cute Girl Character with Dark Hair Sitting at Table or School Desk and Listening Vector Illustration. Cheerful Kid at School Lesson Concept


Step by step guide

ECSEL Prompts

What questions can you ask to promote ECSEL thinking and discussions?

Extended Learning

How can you extend children’s thinking?


Can you guess what makes that sound? Guide children to use their listening skills and make predictions during this fun sensory activity.

ECSEL Standards & Learning Goals

What skills are being enhanced & what knowledge is being gained through this activity?

Emotional Identification

Children will be able to identify their feelings throughout the activity, with adult support if needed.

Cause & Effect

Children will be able to connect feelings to a cause.

Empathy & Prosocial Skills

Children will be able to practice prosocial skills including listening and communication with others.

Problem Solving

Children will be able to express emotions and feelings when given a visual prompt (Our Emotions Cards).

CASEL Standards

Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Responsible Decision-Making


  • Various musical instruments or items that make different sounds (whatever you have available)
  • Box with a lid


  1. Prepare for this activity by placing all of the instruments and/or objects that you plan to use in the box with the lid on so children cannot see the different items.
  2. Bring the box to your meeting area, and gather children together to introduce the activity.
  3. Tell children we are going to be playing a game where we can only use our sense of sound, meaning we can only use our ears to listen.
  4. Tell them that they will need to turn around and close their eyes, and you will take out one of the items and make some noise. Once they hear the sound, they will need to make a prediction, or use their listening skills to guess what could be making the sound.
  5. Have children turn around and close their eyes no peeking!
  6. Make some noise with the first item, and have children make their predictions. You can have everyone make their own guess, or ask a few volunteers to share and see if the rest of the class agrees.
  7. Once the predictions are made, have the children turn around to see if their predictions were correct!
  8. Repeat with the rest of the items.

ECSEL Prompts

ECSEL Prompts are helpful questions & guiding statements you can use to provoke children’s thinking about emotions. These prompts are related to this specific activity.

I can see a big smile on your face! Was your prediction correct? Are you feeling proud?

I can see that you are frowning and have your arms crossed. Are you feeling disappointed about not making the right prediction? That’s okay, we can always try again!

I can tell everyone is ready to listen because you all have your eyes closed and no one is talking. Great job, everyone!

How did it make you feel to only use your ears to listen, and not your other senses?

Which sound did you like the best? How did that sound make you feel? What was it about that sound that made you feel this way?

Listen to the first sound. What kind of object/instrument do you think makes this kind of sound?

Are we not sure? Let’s listen one more time and think about it together. Did the object make a shaky sound or a smooth sound? Was it loud or quiet? Does it sound like music, or something else?

Extended Learning

Use these questions & ideas to extend children’s learning!

Extend this activity in different ways to focus on the other senses: sight, touch, smell, taste. Include making predictions part of each activity to strengthen scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills.

Follow up with a conversation about how different people learn in different ways. Some people can only use certain senses, so they use different strategies to learn and navigate the world.

Preschool/Pre-K – What’s That Sound?

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