There are many science experiments you can do with kids! Kids are naturally drawn to do experiments and play and explore with their hands. I like to do this sound experiment with kids as a way to introduce big science concepts to young minds. I have done this experiment with kids aged 3-10 and it is a hit with all of them.
Since I teach kindergarten, I prepare for just under 30 kids per class. We have been exploring sounds so this experiment tied in perfectly. I started by using the large slinky and having a child and I hold the ends on opposite sides of the carpet. I banged the slinky to send a wave to the other side. We talked about how sound travels in waves. A big, fast wave equals a loud sound. A small, slow sound wave may be someone humming.
Some students even noticed the slinky bounce back after reaching the student holding the other end of the slinky. This was a great chance to discuss echoes and how sound bounces.
l gave groups a bowl covered with plastic wrap. The wrap must be tight in order for the experiment to work. Then I put some coloured rice on top of the plastic wrap.
We then used tuning forks (available at music stores) to make our rice dance. Students banged the forks on their hand or table side and then touched it to the plastic wrap. (Make sure to not touch the bowl or the sound vibrations will be stopped.)
When banged, the tuning fork vibrates, which creates a sound. When the fork is then touched to the plastic wrap, those vibrations travel across the wrap and causes the rice to vibrate or ‘dance’. There was so much excitement in the room when the rice started bouncing everywhere! The mess is definitely worth the learning that occurred!
As an extension, you can fill the glass bowls with water and a few drops of food colouring. When the tuning fork is touched to the water it makes the water splash out of the bowl. This sound experiment is an easy way to show kids that sound causes vibrations/movement.