Sound for Lego Animation Movies

My 9-year old nephew got a book for Christmas on stop-motion animation with Legos. When I saw his first videos, they were so fun I had to add sounds to them. With a few simple suggestions, he was off and running doing all his own sound design. I’ll walk you through some recommendations on what software to use to add … Read more

5 ways to protect babies hearing

Hearing damage doesn’t just happen from being at a loud rock concert. There’s things in our homes and every day life that can cause hearing damage to adults – and to babies. Is a baby’s hearing more sensitive? Babies are more susceptive to hearing damage (and ear infections) than adults because of the smaller size of their ear anatomy. A … Read more

When is a Toy Too Loud?

Some toys are so loud they can cause hearing damage. All toys have to undergo acoustic testing and meet requirements (set by the American Society of Testing and Materials, or ASTM). But, the way that kids play with toys (especially how close a toy is to their ears) doesn’t always match how adults test these toys. Children under the age … Read more

Gift Ideas for Kids Who Like Music and Tech

Music technology is about manipulating sound through electronics. For a kid who’s creative and technical it’s a great area to explore. Music technology also falls under STEM since it is engineering and technology-based. It’s probably one of few STEM areas with a creative component to it, too. You don’t have to be a musician or even taking music lessons to explore … Read more

Hearing protection for children

Hearing protection for children of all ages is important because hearing damage from loud sounds is permanent. Children under the age of 5 are more susceptible to hearing damage so it’s especially crucial to protect their ears. What to look for in hearing protection Style The two styles of hearing protection are earplugs and earmuffs. When worn correctly, both earmuffs and … Read more

Is it safe to kiss your baby’s ears?

Do you like to kiss baby ears? Unfortunately, it’s possible for a kiss to the ear to cause hearing damage. It’s not just a risk to babies – it could happen to anyone – even an adult being kissed by a child. Babies have small ears and ear canals which makes them especially vulnerable to damage from kissing. My biggest … Read more

What are environmental sounds and how can they help toddlers learn to talk?

Environmental sounds are everywhere – they’re everything from a refrigerator humming to a bird chirping outside to a heart beating or a voice. For babies and toddlers, environmental sounds can be a way to introduce language or encourage language development. Research shows children need to hear 21,000 words in a day. Environmental sounds are a great way to find something new … Read more

Teaching Loud and Quiet to Toddlers

Loud and quiet are basic sound concepts that can be taught to toddlers. Even though we tend to teach it in games, as a parent, I’ve found it to be a pretty useful tool (like trying to get a toddler to speak quietly when they’re being too loud in public). Here’s the approach I used to teach loud and quiet … Read more

Tips for teens making music with technology

For teens who are making music, there’s a lot of technology to explore. Audio and music technology covers a wide range from writing music, recording music, and using “synth” (artificial) sounds with software or hardware. Getting started Most musicians don’t get into music tech by reading books and memorizing audio terms. It usually happens because you want to create or … Read more

How noise affects kids at school

It’s been proven in many studies that background noise can affect children’s ability to learn. Until a child is in their teens, it’s hard for them to separate sounds they want to listen to from those those they don’t want to focus on. It’s the most difficult for kids under the age of 5 and it can negatively affect language development … Read more

Is your baby’s noise machine too loud?

Infant sleep machines are designed and marketed to help infant’s sleep better. But, when a noise machine is too loud or too close, it can disrupt sleep or worse – cause permanent hearing damage. A group of Canadian researchers measured noise machines set to maximum level. They found some machines (not all) were so loud they could do hearing damage … Read more

Why Babies & Toddlers Need A Quiet Background to Learn

Babies and toddlers listen differently to the world and too much sound can affect their ability to learn. For most adults, it doesn’t take effort to filter out sounds we don’t want to pay attention to and focusing on the ones we do (like someone speaking when there’s light/moderate background music playing). It’s something our brains have learned to do over … Read more

Sound chart for kids

The Sound Chart for Kids activity helps learn how to identify sounds and different characteristics of each sound. The basic characteristics we’re going to look at: Loud, soft, or medium loudness High frequency, low or mid-range (middle) Short vs long length We’re going to use a chart that has a list for each sound then each characteristic. The idea is … Read more

Teen hearing loss (and how to prevent it)

Teen hearing loss has become a growing problem especially as earbuds have grown in popularity. As many as 1 in 6 adolescents have high frequency hearing loss (because of exposure to loud noises such as music played through headphones). Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson (“Seattle Mama Doc”) has an excellent article on reducing hearing loss. She advises: Have your teen screened … Read more

Rap and heavy metal music during pregnancy

Some websites say to avoid music like heavy metal or rap during pregnancy and only play gentle music (like classical) to not startle your unborn baby. I’ve seen references to “research” but I can’t find any real studies about the effects of listening to dissonant, “harsh” or atonal music during pregnancy. Based on science and research, there are a number … Read more

Do belly headphones work?

Belly headphones are a popular registry item (“headphones” designed for mom’s belly so baby can listen to music). Before you go buying buds for your bump, consider this: No research shows that playing music to a baby in the womb makes them smarter No research shows newborns can recognize music their parents played for them in the womb Many of these … Read more

Stomping Game for Toddlers

Find things to stomp on! This is a toddler sensory activity that is also good to encourage language development. When we talk about sound games for young kids, we tend to think of their hands. What can they touch, shake, or rattle to create sounds? Toddlers love to walk, kick, stomp, run and jump, too – all of which make … Read more