single sense materials

Sound Boxes


Material Description:

Two boxes each containing six cylinders: one set red, one set blue.  Each cylinder has a small quantity of beads (or other materials) inside.  The typeof the material inside the boxes varies with each pair; when they are shaken a different sound is created.  The sounds must be graded from loud to very soft.  Each cylinder in the blue series has an identical one in the blue to match it



How to hold:

  • Hold along the circumference with index and middle finger and thumb



Introduction – Contrasting Sounds

  • Bring both boxes to the table
  • Remove cylinders with red tops
  • Take the loudest cylinder, showing how to hold the cylinder and shake it several times by each ear
  • Invite the child to do the same
  • Then shake the softest cylinder, in the same manner and pass it to the child to repeat
  • Shake the cylinders with other grades



  • Take out both sets of cylinders
  • Arrange them with at different edges of the table, with one set at either side of the table, randomly mixed within the ‘blue’ and ‘red’ sets
  • Shake one of the ‘red’ cylinders
  • Shake each ‘blue’ cylinder in turn, until a pair is found
  • Shake both cylinders to check
  • If correct let the child take both cylinders, in turn, shake and listen
  • Place the pair to one side
  • Continue pairing in this way, placing each pair in front of the preceding ones
  • When complete check each pair once again and invite the child to recheck
  • Put the cylinders back into their two sets and mix them, invite the child to try
  • Note: always listen to ‘red’ before ‘blue’



  • Remove ‘red’ cylinders
  • Shake them, one at a time, to isolate “loudest”
  • Shake again to find “next loudest” and put it next to isolated one, compare them again
  • Invite child to compare ‘loudest’ and “next loudest”
  • Continue grading till “softest”, allow child to listen and compare each consecutive grade
  • When complete listen to while sequence
  • Remove ‘blue’ cylinders and invite child to grade ‘red’ ones, using ‘blue’ as a control




Exercise 1

  • Repeat grading presentation, using ‘blue’ and ‘red’ cylinders, sorting, pairing and grading







To be covered in the three-part lesson, before the games; “Loud” – “Soft”; comparatives and superlatives



Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • The ability of the child to discern sounds



Direct Aim:

  • Refinement of the auditory sense



Age at Presentation:

Three to four years



Games (Further Exercises):

Game 1

  • Place both sets on different tables with a distance between them
  • The child listens to on e’red’ cylinder and leaving it on the table searches for it’s pair on the other table, she brings the ‘blue’ one she chooses back to check


Game 2

  • One set is laid out on the table, the children sit at a distance from it
  • The Directress brings one cylinder to them and invites them to listen, she asks a child to find any cylinder  which is “louder” or “softer”
  • Variation: As Game 2, only the child finds that cylinder which is only one grade “louder” or “softer”


Listening Games

  • The Directress hides from view and performs an action using everyday sounds (e.g. pouring, cutting, opening a newspaper, brushing) and asks the children to guess what is happening


  • The children close their eyes and the Directress moves around the room with an object which emits a constant noise, a clock or timer, and the children try to point to the source of the noise.








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