Body Music

Have you ever noticed how children love to make sound effects with their mouths and bodies? I challenged myself to find as many different sound effects as I could using only my body. Then I demonstrated my discoveries to twenty different groups of children. I began by telling them that we can make our bodies sound like wonderful musical instruments. I demonstrated each one of the following sounds in order, then the group would follow. (I made sure to show them the "director's cut" sign by chopping my wrist before I began, so I could quickly get group silence, if needed, without yelling. I emphasised that there would be no voice sounds mixed in with the other body sounds unless I demonstrated it that way.)

With open hands:

With fingers:

With mouth:

With feet:

After I demonstrated these sounds, the children were bursting to demonstrate some of their own, so we played a sound effects game.

Sound Effects Game

Have them suggest sounds of their own following these guidelines:

  1. Raise your hand, and when I call on you, do a sound that is different from what I did.
  2. Everyone will listen carefully to your sound, then everyone will try it.
  3. Choose your best sound since you will get only one turn.
  4. When I do the cut sign, everyone will stop just like that (snap) so we can listen to the next person.
  5. If you are not listening to each other, then we will stop the game.

Because of these simple rules, we could hear the sound effects of everyone who volunteered. (I had groups of 30-65 children each time.)

In The Swamp

A group action and sound effects poem

The children were very enthusiastic and had lots of fun doing this activity. Since every line was repeated, they picked it up easily and remembered it. When you do this, prepare to see lots of smiles.

Begin with the chorus, say verse #1 twice, then repeat the chorus. Go to verse #2, repeat verse #1 and the chorus. Continue in this way, adding a verse and repeating everything said before, until all seven verses have been chanted. Then loudly yell, "SWAMP MONSTER!" and scream.

			Body sounds			Body motions
In the swamp!  	       (slurp, slurp)               (curve fingers, bend elbows, walking 
In the swamp!  	       (slurp, slurp)                motions on thighs)
We go squishy, squashy, squishy
In the swamp!  	       (slurp, slurp)

1.  'Gators chomp!     (clap, clap)                 (stiff arms imitate moving mouth)
2.  Slith'ring snakes! (sss, sss)                   (curving motion with hands and arms)
3.  Biting bugs!       (zzz, zzz--high pitched)	    (fast pointing fingers attack head)
4.  Croaking frogs!    (ribbit, ribbit--breathe in) (shrug shoulders)
5.  Howling wind!      (whoo, whoo--high pirched)   (arms make wind crossing face)
6.  Pouring rain!      (sh, sh)                     (fingers simulate falling rain)
7.  Clashing thunder!  (feet quickly stomping 4X)
SWAMP MONSTER!         (one scream)                 (hold arms up)
Copyright © 1991 by Carol A. Greene