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5 Sound Wave Experiments for Kids

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Teaching little ones about the 5 senses can be so much fun!  Today I want to show you some fun and easy sound wave experiments you can do with your kids!

5 Sound Experiments for Kids

Sound Wave Experiments for Kids:

Following are five fun sound wave experiments you can make at home with just a few simple supplies. Your kids or students will love them.   If you are teaching about the human body and how ears work, or maybe have a lesson on the five senses, I am sure you will find one of these that will work perfectly for you!

Experiment  #1  The Magic Ear Trick

The first sound wave experiment is this magic ear trick.   This sound trick makes you think the sound is coming from the opposite direction from where it really is coming from. It tricks your brain!  We saw this at a science museum a few years back and my kids had so much fun with it that we wanted to try to recreate it at home.

To make it, you need small tubing (I got this fish tank tubing), two small plastic funnels and a piece of PVC pipe or paper towel tube.

Attach a funnel to the end of each piece of tubing. We secured ours with duct tape.

Put the tubing through the pipe with each one going in the opposite direction.

magic ear trick- hearing lesson

Place the end pieces in each ear.

sound wave experiments for kids- ear trick

Have someone talk into the different funnels. You could move it up behind their head so they don’t know which one you are talking into. Then let them guess which side you are talking on. It will be the opposite ear from where you are making it like a magic trick!

hearing 5 senses lesson

It’s really funny to watch kids faces when they hear it. I love his confused look in that picture above!  It got my son laughing so hard that he could not tell where the noise was coming from!

What’s Happening?

The sound is traveling through the tubes, Your brain thinks the one on the right will be heard in the right ear, but it is the opposite!  It tricks your mind and confuses you!

Sound Wave Experiment #2 The Ringing Fork on a String

For this simple sound wave experiment you just need a fork or a spoon tied onto a piece of yarn.  Make sure the yarn is long enough to hang down from your ears to around your chest or stomach.  Tie the fork right in the center of the piece of yarn or string.

Now, tuck the ends of the yarn into your ears and tap the fork on an object. You will hear a large gonging sound or a ringing in your ears!  The funny thing about this is that nobody else hears it like you do.  And everyone is shocked at how loud the sound is!

The Science Behind It:

When the fork hits another surface it will vibrate.  These vibrations make the air around it move, too.  These are sound waves! The vibrations, or sound waves, move up the string and allow your ears to hear it. Sound travels best through a solid object, no the air.

Sound Wave Experiment #3 Make a Cup and String Phone

This is a great classic experiment that’s been around as long as I can remember. But it is still so much fun to do with young kids!   You need two plastic or paper cups and a long piece of string or yarn.

Cup and string phone

Poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup.  Put the string through the holes and tie knots on the inside to keep the string in place.  Do this with both cups.

Now pull the string tight- it needs to be tight for the phone to work and the sound waves to be able to travel through the string. On person puts the phone to his or her ear and the other to their mouth. Whisper or talk quietly into the cup and the other person will hear the sound of your voice in the cup!

My kids like to make two to use at once, then they can both talk and listen without switching the cups back and forth.

cup string telephone

The Science Behind It:

When we talk, our vocal cords vibrate beginning the motion of the sound waves.  Our ears have tiny hairs inside that pick up those sound wave vibrations and send them to our brain to translate.  When you talk through the phone, the string carries those waves from one cup to the other allowing us to hear each other!

Experiment #4 Make a Buzzing Bug Noisemaker

Sound waves experiment- buzzing bug noisemaker

This is a fun experiment!  You can find all of the instructions to make it here: Sound Experiment: Buzzing Bug Noisemaker Toy

This buzzing bug noisemaker simulates the sound of insect wings that bus when they fly.  It’s simple to make and kids love playing with them! You just spin them around and listen to them buzz.

Sound Wave Experiment #5  Seeing Sound Waves~ Dancing Sugar

This is an easy experiment to put together and a great visual for seeing how sound waves work!

Put a phone in a glass.  Turn on some loud music with a lot of great bass.  Cover the glass with plastic wrap and sprinkle some  grains of sugar on top of the plastic wrap.  You will be able to see the sugar dance!  It is really cool.

Now explain to the kids how this works!  The vibrations from the sound waves are making the sugar move.

Ear book- sound waves for kids

Expand this lesson on ears and sound  by reading The Ear Book by Al Perkins with your kids. It’s such a fun one!

Want more sensory activities for the 5 senses? Check these ones out:

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