Fun with sounds: Videos, activities, books & music for early learners

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian

Miss Jenny and I both love building fun sounds into our storytimes and our videos. Sounds, especially unexpected ones, get and keep everyone’s interest and attention.

Will your preschooler understand you if you give them directions using inflections and gestures but only mooing? Yes, probably! And they might even focus on listening better because it’s so silly and fun.

Enjoy some fun with sounds together with these videos and activities!

Watch these videos

In this Early Bird Reader video, Jenny and I share sounds to explore opposites like loud and quiet, using a few of our favorite books like Marta, Big and Small.

How many different kinds of sounds could you make while watching this Professor Slughorn video? Nibbling, running, going fast, cheering, and more! How does the music sound and make you feel?

Try these activities

  • Start early, with your babies and young toddlers! Respond to their sounds as communication and hold conversations—exactly like that adorable viral video of a baby and his dad. This helps kids practice turn taking and understanding using words to get their needs met.
  • Playing sounds like animal imitations or pretend sneezing are important steps in speaking and communicating. Laura at Teach Me To Talk has some great ways to play with sounds with your pre-speakers.
  • The Center for Early Literacy Learning has fun ways to play with sounds and words (pdf) with your toddlers, with songs, rhymes, and transportation sounds.
  • Children’s Hospital of Minnesota also has great tips (pdf)!
  • Kids with large vocabularies often turn into good readers, because they are decoding words they are already familiar with and can enjoy the end result. Help your kids practice all of these sounds to build words later to become readers after that!
  • Grab some pots, pans, and toys and turn your family into a band! Find the beat, boom boom with a big  pretend drum, bang bang with a small pretend drum, ting ting with a pretend triangle. 

Discover more with your library card

  • Sounds is a really fun book on Hoopla that comes with questions and activities built right into the story! What was the first sound you heard today?
  • Browse some fun phonics books on Hoopla. Pick a letter and focus on it all day long. Where do you hear the S sound? What do you see that starts with S? Make a game of it!
  • Borrow some music from Hoopla and have a dance party! Add sound effects, with air guitars … and keytars? If you borrow something from the 80s, anyway. Introduce kids to your favorite songs and music types and have fun.
Shelley Harris

About Shelley

Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.