We love the Magic School Bus books and TV show at my house and with Halloween approaching, I thought it would be fun to read a not-so-scary but related book from this series, and do a fun (and educational – of course!) activity to make and collect spooky sounds.
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Inspiration for Our Spooky Sounds Experiments
When I was at the local bookstore last week with Onetime, he picked up a little handheld Halloween toy that plays scary sounds when you press different buttons.
He loved it! His favourite sound was the wild, cackly witch laugh and he proceeded to wander around the store for the next 15 minutes pressing it over and over! (He gave lots of customers a good laugh!)
When it was time to go, I convinced him to leave the toy at the store (it was way too expensive!), by telling him that we could make our own sound toy at home! And so our experimenting began…
Collecting Spooky Sounds
First, we found a small tape recorder and then we gathered a bunch of sound-making materials.
Check out all our materials below:
Then we just had fun making and collecting our sounds on the recorder!
Spooky Sound Making Instructions
Here are the instructions for making your own sounds at home. You can collect them on a tape recorder like we did, or just have fun experimenting with the different noises!
They could even be used for sound effects for a Halloween play or a homemade video or soundtrack. Some of these experiments are just plain fun to DO too!
Bubbling Cauldron – Pour some milk into a shallow dish and have your child blow bubbles into it with a straw. Onetime really enjoyed getting to play this way and the sounds were perfect for a witch’s brew! You could even colour the milk green or purple for extra fun!
Breaking Glass – Drop some silverware onto a metal tray for a sound like breaking glass. Beware – this is loud!
Creaking Door – Find a creaky door or old rocking chair and move it very slowly to catch this wonderful sound.
Water Dripping – Have fun dropping objects into a toilet or bathtub with a couple inches of water. The echoing sound is interesting…and creepy.
Wind Through the Trees – Grab a bunch of dried leaves outside and put them in a bag to rustle!
Creepy Strumming – Stretch some elastics of different thicknesses over a plastic container or a tissue box and let your child have fun playing this out of tune homemade guitar!
Spooky Footsteps – Explore the sound of your footsteps on different surfaces and with different shoes.
Clock Bell: Try tapping large metal pot lids while holding them by the handle to create some unique bell sounds. Use metal spoons and wooden spoons to tap.
Bats Whooshing: Find a long, thin stick outside, or try craft sticks like we did. Swoop the sticks through the air to get an interesting whooshing sound!
Owl in Flight: Wave a child’s sunhat or a pair of gloves up and down quickly.
Eerie Wailing – Add some water to a wine glass, wet your finger and move it around the rim in circles.
Hooting Owl – Collect various plastic bottles and try blowing across the tops. Different sizes make different pitches. Try filling them with water at different levels for different sounds.
Evil Laugh – Tape record different family members doing their best evil laugh! Dad’s laugh was contagious. I did a great witch’s cackle and Onetime even had a hilarious laugh of his own!
Thunder – Wave a stiff piece of bristol board back and forth.
Ghostly Hoofbeats – This was Onetime’s favourite! Get a couple of empty yogurt or sour cream containers and tap them upside down on a tabletop for a hollow galloping sound!
Connecting Play to Learning
After our spooky sounds experiments, we decided to read The Magic School Bus In The Haunted Museum: A Book About Sound. It’s the perfect literary accompaniment to this activity.
Miss Frizzle and her students are working on a project to create their own musical instruments when they visit a “haunted” sound museum.
The kids (and readers) learn all about what sound IS, and how it is created, as Miss Frizzle’s class solves the mystery behind the “hauntings.”
I love this book, but it appears to be out of print. Amazon has some used copies if you don’t mind, OR, you could check out the DVD video collection instead, The Magic School Bus – Creepy, Crawly Fun!
It includes 3 Halloween-themed science videos, including “Going Batty”, “Spins a Web”, and the *Haunted Sound Museum* episode.
My son enjoys both the book and the video versions and neither are too scary for preschool-aged kids in my opinion.
By the way, I’ve shown the Magic School Bus videos to kids in grade 5 science classes and even THEY still like them!
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So far, we’ve just enjoyed listening to our tape together and having a good laugh!
How else could you use these sound effects? I’d love to hear your ideas, either for play, or for teaching, leave a comment below!