Created by Judith Brocklehurst
What will we create today?
A weird and wonderful soundtrack for a story. To start off, you’ll explore sounds that can be made with all kinds of everyday objects.
You will need:
Items from around your home or school, such as...
- Metal bowls, cups or something similar
- Plastic bags
- Elastic bands
- Glass of water, straw or piece of hose pipe
- Dried beans.
Did you know that some books can speak?
The Speaking Picture Book is one of the first noisy books for children. When you pull one of the cords at the side, you’ll hear the animal in each picture ‘speak’. The cockerel cries ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’! Even though it’s over a hundred years old, amazingly it still makes most of its noises. Take a listen – what do you think?
Some books definitely can’t speak – but maybe you can make up sounds to go with the stories and pictures!
The Circus (T︠S︡irk) by Samuil Marshak, illustrated by Vladimir LebedevView images from this item (13)
Usage terms Public Domain
Haunted House by Jan Pieńkowski, Tor Lokvig and John WalmsleyView images from this item (11)
Usage terms © Jan Pieńkowski. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.
Held by© Jan Pieńkowski
Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor by Mervyn Peake: early draft manuscript with original artworksView images from this item (56)
Usage terms © SKETCHBOOK COMPRISING COMPLETE PROTOTYPE FOR CAPTAIN SLAUGHTERBOARD, FROM THE VISUAL ARCHIVE OF MERVYN PEAKE (BRITISH LIBRARY) reprinted by permission of Peters Fraser & Dunlop (www.petersfraserdunlop.com) on behalf of the Estate of Mervyn Peake. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.
We’re going to use these books as the basis for your own story soundtracks! Here’s how…
Make some noise!
1. Find materials that make a sound when touched or moved around in a metal bowl.
There are ideas in the ‘You will need’ list above – but you might have others!
Spread the materials out on a table.
2. What sounds can you make?
Play with the materials and the metal bowl to find out all of the different sounds that can be made with them.
What do the noises sound like? Do they remind you of an animal, the weather, a machine?
3. Look back at the three books.
Think about which sounds might go with different parts of each story.
Use our questions below to explore the books and find ideas.
What sounds do the spiders and the mice make running around the house?
What sound does the monster make when it crashes through the wall or rummages in the cupboard?
What can you use to make noises like the octopus washing up in the sink?
How many different sounds can you make just in the haunted house’s kitchen?
Try making lots of very quiet rustling noises up in the attic. What could be hiding up there?
What sound would the clown make when he jumps in the air?
What do the performers’ banjos and guitars sound like? Beat a rhythm for the musicians to follow.
Can you make a whirring sound like the wheel on the acrobat’s monocycle?
How many different sounds would the audience make?
Look at the fantastical beasts – all dreamt up by Mervyn Peake. Would they oink like a pig, trumpet like an elephant, or moo like a cow?
Can you make the sounds? They might be out of this world!
The creatures all live on an island, surrounded by the sea. What sounds might you find there?
4. It’s time to play your story soundtrack!
For each book or page arrange the materials in order. Read or look at the story while making the sound effects.
And there you have it! A story soundtrack, totally unique to you.
5. Want to keep exploring?
Use the sounds you’ve created to make up your own new story… or turn another story you know into a soundtrack!
Information for teachers
Key Stage: SEND, Key Stage 1 and 2
Subject(s): English, Music
Estimated time: 30 minutes to an hour
Aim: To create a soundtrack in response to a story using everyday objects and materials.
Learning objectives: Engagement with narratives. Interacting with materials. Concentrating on images.
- Guiding and reading to keep the task on track
- Facilitate group working
- To extend the activity, use the sounds of the materials you have found to make up new stories. You could record these sounds on sound tiles/buttons or a phone to allow easier access for students with PMLD.
How much fun would a story be if the characters were always good? Explore the role of mischief in storytelling, from medieval to modern-day children’s books.
Take a look at some tiny treasures including the earliest collection of nursery rhymes and delve into the worlds of The Borrowers, The BFG and The Smartest Giant in Town.