Explore with your senses: Sound

Did you hear? We’re exploring with our senses! So far, we've looked into the fun ways we can play with and test our sense of sight. If you missed it, check it out here!

We’re continuing our journey through the senses with the super sense of sound. Those of us who are able to hear use our sense of sound for all sorts of things, both consciously and subconsciously. From listening to the TV or our favourite songs to having a conversation or monitoring traffic, and, of course, when listening for the tell-tale footsteps of rival treasure seekers on a Treasure Trail. We use our hearing all the time when we’re awake… and when we’re asleep!

Sound Sensational Fact

But there’s more to our hearing than we realise, and more ways we can play with it and test it out for fun! Check out our fun facts and sensory activities that will help you explore your sense of sound.

Sensational facts about sound

There are lots of cool things you may not know about your ears and your hearing.

  • Your ear contains both the tiniest bone in your body – the stapes or ‘stirrup’ bone – and the hardest bone – the temporal bone, which protects your inner ear. 
  • Human ears don’t just hear – they also help us stay balanced. That’s why you might feel a little unsteady on your feet when you’ve got an ear infection. 
  • A heavy meal can actually affect your hearing – it reduces the sounds that you hear! 
  • Men's and women’s brains work differently when they’re listening! Both use the left side of the brain to process language, but women also use part of their right side for some reason. This doesn’t mean that women are better listeners, though – it just may be that they’re processing other information at the same time. 
  • Human ears can detect the difference between hot and cold running water! Heat is created by molecules speeding up, so cold water moves slightly lower, which our hearing can pick up. Try it out!

But what about sound in the rest of nature?

Not all animals have ears like humans do or rely on them for hearing in the same way!

  • Cicadas have hearing organs in their stomach, crickets have them on their knees, and snakes hear through their jawbones!  
  • Bats have terrible night vision, so they use sound waves to detect objects and hunt prey – this is called echolocation. Whales, dolphins and some birds also use echolocation, and so do submarines (sort of) with their sonar systems. 
  • Elephants have the largest of all ears but don’t just use them for hearing – they also help them regulate their body temperature. 
elephant ears

Explore with sound at home

There are tonnes of ways that you can explore with your hearing at home, whether indoors or in your garden. Try these activities out!

Activity #01: Did you hear that?

Have you ever paid attention to all the sounds in your own home, garden or local area?

Find a space in a room, your garden or a safe spot away from the road while out on a walk. Set a timer for one minute and stay silent, listening out for all the sounds around you – closing your eyes might help you concentrate. How many unusual sounds did you notice? Were there any that you hadn’t heard or paid attention to before? Who heard the most sounds?

Try it out in different places and at different times to hear lots of unique sounds that you’ve never consciously listened to before!

Activity #02: Listen up – this top-secret intel needs deciphering!

Some sounds are super easy to decipher, even if you can’t see what’s making the noise – birds singing, cars driving past, water running…

But what about the strange sounds that you don’t notice as much, like the sound a yoghurt lid makes when you open it, the fanning sound of book pages or the squelchy noise of squeezing out a teabag?

Head around the house and record three different sounds you come across – one easy, one slightly harder and one really tricky. Test out your family or household and see if they can guess all three!

Activity #03: Sounds familiar…

If you’re struggling to find yet another fun way to fill your evenings as a family, try taking on a music intro quiz! Using your preferred music app, have each member of the household pick five of their favourite songs that the others will likely know.

Gather everyone around and take turns to play one of your songs, but ONLY the intro. The first person to guess the song title before the singing start wins the point. You could even offer a second point if they know the name of the artist/s and a third if they sing the first line of the song. This is a fab way to test your hearing, your memory and your reaction skills – triple whammy! Plus, it’ll give you loads of laughs with your family.

If you’re stuck for ideas or can’t get the songs you want on your preferred music app, try scouring through the app store to find music intro quizzes – there’s plenty out there, some with themes like decades or film soundtracks. These will be trickier and may not always contain songs that you or your mini music lovers will know, but it’ll definitely up the challenge, especially if there are just two of you playing.

listen to nature

What a puzzling sense…sound!

For sound, your puzzle involves identifying rhyming words. Say each item aloud to find its matching partner in rhyme. Some will come to you quicker than others but don’t give up. You’ll be left with three items that have no rhyming partner. Solve the just-for-fun puzzle, then find the answer below. Good luck!

TT Sound Puzzle

Make ’em laugh!

Sound joke

Listen out for enemy agents on a Treasure Trail!

Now that you’ve challenged yourselves to some fun sensory activities, it’s time to test your hearing on Trail adventure! Use it to listen out for witness statements, keep your balance as you tiptoe across perilous terrain and have an ear to the ground at all times for top-secret intel.

But, while you’re out and about, try to stay conscious of everything you’re hearing. Take in the hustle and bustle of the town centre, the wind whipping through the trees in the parks or the chirps of wildlife scampering around. Wait… do you hear footsteps? It could be rival explorers! You better not let them beat you to the treasure trove.

Explore with your senses on a Treasure Trail

Keep an ear out for more fun with your senses!

Our journey through the senses may be over, but you can still go back and test out your skills as a qualified sensory explorer. Follow this link to keep exploring the five senses.