Science of Sound Activity ♪ Make Some Noise for Foley Art

Have you ever heard of Foley art? Make your own sound effects with this science of sound activity!

Foley artistry, named for the sound effect professional that pioneered it, originated during radio shows in the 1920s. They had to create sound effects from objects in the studio – anything from horse hoof beats to snow crunching to animal sounds!  

Learn to make your own Foley art sound effects using objects from around your house with this science of sound activity! 

Action!

Snow crunching  

  • You will need:
    • Cornstarch
    • A balloon or zip plastic bag 
  • What to do: 
    • Fill your balloon or bag about halfway full of cornstarch.  
    • Squeeze out all the air you can and seal it up tight!  
    • Squeeze it with your hands. What does it sound like?  
science of sound activity foot steps in the snow

Bats flying 

  • You will need:
    • An umbrella 
  • What to do: 
    • Open your umbrella quickly, then open and close it just a tiny bit a few times.  
    • Experiment with the speed and movement. See if you can make it sound like a group of bats!  
    • Try it in a different room or outside to play with echo!
science of sound activity bats flying

Dog shaking dry

  • You will need: 
    • A mop or a rag 
  •  What to do: 
    • Wet your mop or rag.  
    • Wring out the excess water.  
    • Do the next part over your bath or shower: 
    • If you have a mop – twirl it around as fast as you can!  
    • If you have a rag – grab two corners and flap it back and forth quickly, letting as much fabric hang as you can! 
science of sound activity wet dog

Breaking a glass 

  • You will need:  
    • A set of keys 
  • What to do: 
    • Drop your keys onto the floor from 6 inches above it.  
    • Play with height to get a different sound. Try dropping onto a different surface and see what sound it makes!  
science of sound activity breaking glass

Rain 

  • You will need: 
    • Uncooked rice 
    • A cookie sheet 
  • What to do:  
    • Pour some uncooked rice onto your cookie sheet. You don’t need much – less than a handful.  
    • Tilt your cookie sheet to let the rice roll or slide down to the other side. You created a gentle rainstorm!  
science of sound activity rain

Birds flying 

  • You will need:
    • Leather or rubber gloves 
  • What to do: 
    • Hold the open end of both gloves in one hand.  
    • Shake them!  
    • Experiment with how fast you shake the gloves to make it sound like birds are further or nearer.  
science of sound activity birds flying

Dinosaur sounds  

  • You will need:
    • A plastic cup 
    • A piece of string 
    • Something to poke a hole in your cup (with grownup’s help) 
    • Water 
  • What to do: 
  • Poke a hole in the bottom of the cup right in the center using an embroidery needle or a thumbtack.  
  • Thread the string through the bottom of the cup and tie a knot on the end inside the cup.  
  • Pull the string taught.  
  • Wet your thumb and forefinger with some water.  
  • Run your thumb and forefinger along the string. You may need to do this a few times before you get a sound. 
science of sound activity dinosaur

What next? 

  • Mute your TV when next time you watch a movie – see if you can replicate any for your next science of sound activity! 
  • Try another special effect!
    What if we told you that you could freeze time with just a balloon, tape, and some water? Try demonstrating laminar flow at home!

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