Once upon a time when I was still a mom of two, I spent a lot of time creating improve homeschooling activities for the kids to do. Even though my children are not homeschooled, I am a believer that education begins at home. Therefore, even before formal schooling takes place, I begin an unofficial homeschooling journey with them. I love this relaxed approach because my children are not under anyone’s thumb with rules or tests. Rather, our time spent learning is purposeful. While many times planned, it doesn’t feel rigid or overly structured learning time. It simply looks like fun for the kids and it’s a great opportunity for me to parent intentionally.
One of the many activities that I made many years ago that has still holds each of their interests today was a simple audio matching game. What’s an audible matching game? It’s a matching game where you find pairs by their similar sounds instead of their matching pictures.
At the time I made these, I had very limited resources so I tried to make activities with things I already had or things that could be resourced for free. **But aren’t these sorts of activities the best kind anyway?
I used film canisters for my game sound pieces. I just called my local drugstore and asked them if they had any empty containers and had them set them aside for me. (You could probably also use empty prescription pill bottles as another option.) They gladly obliged. After collecting a bagful of containers, I began thinking of things I could put in them to make unique sounds. Some objects I used included pebbles, little bells, buttons, a few stones, sand, beads, and paper clips. I even left 2 empty.
When I filled my canisters, I made sure to fill pairs with exactly the same objects so they made the same sound when shaken. Then I superglued the lids on and put duct tape around each canister so that they all looked the same and so you couldn’t see through the transparent ones. (Duct tape in a fun color would have been better but boring grey was all I had).
Note: If the canisters had all been the same opaque color, such as all grey or all black I would have skipped this step. Basically, I just didn’t want the kids to be able to “cheat” by knowing the black one matches with the grey one without actually listening to the sounds to pair them up.
And that’s it!
How to play? First, line up the canisters in rows just like a normal card matching game. Make sure you mixed the canisters up a bit so the pairs are not next to each other.
Then take turns between you and your child picking up one canister of choice and shaking it. Listen carefully to the sound. Have your child try to guess what is in the canister that makes that sound. (They will probably want to open it at this point, which is why the superglue is important).
Next, choose another canister of choice and shake it. Does the sound match the first choice? If so, remove the two matching canisters from the playing area and allow the next person to take a turn. If the sounds do not match, just put them back where they were in the playing area and let the next player take a turn.
You can keep score or simply have fun trying to make matches until all the canisters have been paired together.
This activity still captures my children’s interest, from my 8 year old on down to my 2 year old. I have also found that because it involves more senses than the regular visual matching game, this game has the ability to calm down rowdy kids and tune their listening ears. (See my ulterior agenda here?)
What learning activities do your kids enjoy?