It just so happens that I love to keep little, party favor sized containers of modeling dough on hand; I use them in my toddler busy bags, toss a few in my purse for times when we are waiting, I give them instead of treats on holidays and I LOVE to upcycle the little cans once we are done with them.
One of my favorite ways to reuse these little canisters is as sound sensory jars and it couldn’t be easier.
But don’t feel like you have to run out and buy party favor sized modeling dough (affiliate link), you can use what you have on hand: yogurt containers, plastic eggs, or even paper towel tubes pinched closed and taped.
Don’t know what to do with what you save? Save these 34 recyclables for fun with the kids.
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 some materials we have used:
- Coffee (ground or whole)
- Salt (Kosher, fine, or rock)
- Bits of foam
Note: Obviously many of these items are small and could present a choking hazard, even if you have sealed your containers supervision is necessary for young children.
So they’re easy to make but what can you do with them once you have them?
The most intuitive way to use these jars is just to enjoy them; allow your toddler to explore them, they make fabulous musical instruments!
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.
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.
I made these small sensory jars for my two-year-old but I have been amazed at how my big kids love them too. Sometimes I forget that sensory activities are great for kids of all ages!