Active listening to bells, bells, bells

In this series of blog postings, we’re having fun with bells.  For the next few postings, we’ll focus on LISTENING !   Intentional listening helps us focus our attention on the aspects of the sounds we hear, and be able to tell the difference between sounds, much like we recognize our own child’s voice from any others.  This is an incredibly important skill in all areas of life, and must be developed through practice.  Of course, music makes it engaging and fun. 

For young children it is often helpful to listen with your whole body. 

  • Listen to the sound of a specific type of bell.   We will start with bells you may have at home.  Starting with sound that are familiar allows the child to review what they already know so they can connect their current understanding to the new shapes and sounds that will be presented. 
  • Creating the sound and feeling the real instrument while it vibrates is the best choice for building a foundation of discriminating sounds.   Let the child HOLD it, and CREATE.
  • Using our bodies to move like the bell, or our mouths to sound like the bell is an important part of intentional listening, since we have to attend well enough to copy the sound and movement.


Ding Dong – Let your child RING your doorbell, then both of you try to recreate the sound verbally.  If you are up to the task, take the cover off the door bell, and show them how it works – that is if your doorbell actually uses a bell.  Many these days are a digital sound, which may be good to hear – but not to see.


Does your child have a bike bell?  Well, then they most likely have a lot of experience ringing it.  If not, take a trip to your local bike shop to check out all the bike bells that are available ! 

Fun, Fun !!!


Most children love the bright shiny ring-a-ling sound of the jingle bells.  If you have some jingle bells, bring them out for your child to explore. 

If you don’t, they are easy to find at Walmart or a craft store.  For now, just buy the larger bells (they make a better sound) and enjoy listening to them in the bag.  Then let the child explore it in their hands.  In another posting, we’ll explore ways to make jingle bell instruments, and have a lot more jingle bell fun !


Most children are also familiar with this type of bell, typically called wind chimes.  This video shows a large assortment of styles, and simply the sound of all of them together.

Do you have a wind chime at home your child can try?  If not, head over to a store near you to listen to the wonderful chime sounds.  Here in Lakeland, I would recommend Brooke Pottery.  But many times you can find them in most hardware stores.  Wind chimes are also a simple craft to make with your child.

Different types of bells will be presented in each of the following postings in this series, and some videos will be available to hear the sounds, and/or how these bells are used.  For our purpose here, we will focus on the classic bell shapes with ringers on the inside or out.  And I have organized them from the smallest to the largest bells.  After all my research, I believe I must divide it up into separate blog postings.  Although I am presenting them all in one day, take it at a pace that is right for you and your child, perhaps one type of bell a day.  With your older child, you might look at all of them as an overview, then explore them all more personally throughout the next few weeks.

In our Kindermusik classes, we explore many types of bells and compare the sounds, and use appropriate bells for different songs and activities.  Come join the fun and learning by checking out the types of classes offered on my website, then contact me to learn more.

I’d LOVE to hear how you and your child are exploring these sounds.  PLEASE SHARE !   Is your child starting to recognize the difference between the sounds of the bells?


Easter Eggs – before, during, and after Easter

Happy Easter

Angel - hornMy best wishes are for you

to enjoy your Easter Celebrations

with your family,  with the angels,

and with eggs full of the joys in life.


Angel -ViolinWe celebrate this rebirth with the angels

just as we do the original birth of Christ

Angel - harpWith music and a joyful heart

For all he has done for us.


Angel - fluteThere are many ways folks celebrate Easter. 

One of my favorite is watching the joy of discovery

of a child as they seek to find what is filling the

empty space of a freshly found Easter egg.

Personally, there are very few sugary treats found inside the eggs I fill.  I much prefer to fill them with things that will make an impression, for the hunt, for Easter, and long after the festivities over.  A few of my favorites:

Easter Hunt – Objects that can be included in some sort of craft.  Fill the eggs and number from 1 – 8 (or however many eggs need to be filled for the craft).  Children must continue to look for eggs until they have one of each number.  So this works well for one child, or many.  Craft projects may include: 

  • beads and string for jewelry (foam beads or smaller beads…)
  • different colors of playdough or clay
  • foam pieces to make a picture, etc.

Easter Morning – Have large plastic (washed) eggs filled with breakfast items;  small muffins, dry cereal, small fruits like grapes, cherries, or strawberries.  Hide them, along with colorful boiled eggs, for the children to find on Easter morning.

Easter Afternoon –  Use the instructions for Resurrection Eggs, which help solidify some of the facts of the story of why we really celebrate Easter.  Please follow the link, as they explain it much better than I.

Angel - drumAfter Easter – Make TIMBRE EGGS.             This just means filling the plastic eggs with various objects to make different sounds.  I prefer to use colorful electrical tape to keep the eggs closed.  For younger children, use edible items (just in case they come open). For fillings, you may use:

Small items for a light sound – rice, small cereal, small beads, paper clips, Goldfish snacks

Medium item for great shaker sound – unpopped popcorn, beans, coffee beans, jelly beans, plastic beads, jingle bells

Large items for a clunky sound – pecan, or small nut, wooded spool, marble

For non-food items try to include at least one egg filled with each of the following materials; metal, wood, plastic, glass (like a marble) and any other that you think will make a different sound. 

Babies/Toddlers:  Just have these available to explore with your child frequently.  Listening to these varieties of sound (also called TIMBRE) is excellent for building neural pathways for these sounds – providing them a foundation for understanding the sounds in their environment.  Young children  also like open-able eggs filled with different textures to explore. 

Toddler/Preschoolers:  Make two of each kind.  Let the child listen to the sounds and match the ones that are the same.   Younger children should only have a few choices (like 3 sets), whereas preschoolers can handle more sets.  These children are not quite ready to identify the object, but can match them.  Make sure they have a chance to use their new instruments to make a parade around the house or yard sing their favorite songs, or marching to the sound of music.  Have fun!

Older Children: Make a list of the things you have used.  After all have been made, have the children listen to the sound and determine what objects were put in that egg.  This is EXCELLENT for LISTENING DISCRIMINATION. 

This is a great project to do WITH the children.  (I don’t suggest including these in the hunt, because they will do whatever they have to to open the egg.)  If you do this WITH them, they see what goes IN the egg already, and can focus their attention on the SOUND instead.

GranGran GraphicsAngel pictures and holiday greeting clip art by GranGran