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Idea and Photo from Hands On As We Grow

Find some containers in your house - playdough cans, yogurt containers, tupperware containers, toilet paper tubes with the ends sealed shut etc.


Wash and thoroughly dry the containers, then fill with desired material and reseal. The lids on my containers fit very snugly but if you are at all worried that your little ones will open them you may want to run a bead of hot glue around the rim before placing the lid quickly and firmly on.

The options of what to put into them are endless, even materials that look similar often have a difference in the quality of sound such as ground coffee and salt. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Popcorn

  • Marbles

  • Beads

  • Coins

  • Rice

  • Beans

  • Coffee (ground or whole)

  • Salt (Kosher, fine, or rock)

  • Screws

  • Bells

  • Legos

  • Spices

  • Bits of foam

  • Rubberbands

  • Water

  • Seeds


Musical Instruments

The most intuitive way to use these jars is just to enjoy them; allow your toddler to explore them, they make fabulous musical instruments!

Sound Match

Make two of each sound jar and play a matching game. You can make it self-correcting for toddlers by giving each pair the same color lid or symbol and you can make it harder for older children by keeping the lids non-matching.

Guess That Sound

Listen to the sound and try to guess what was inside. Although my toddler enjoyed playing this game with his older siblings it really is geared more toward older kids.

Vocabulary Expanders

These listening jars a great opportunity to expand vocabulary; as your child explores each sound use words to describe the quality of the sound with words like rattling, ringing, jangling, loud, soft, etc.

Sort, Compare, and Contrast

Sort the jars according to their sounds, make groups of loud and quiet, or groups that rattle, shake or jingle.

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