Learning to monitor one’s voice is part of speaking and listening standards and essential to every day life. Here are a few strategies to help children become more aware of appropriate times to use a loud and soft voice.
How about having a picture of a lion, a mouse, and a child. When they can talk in a regular voice put up the child. When you want them to use a whisper voice post the mouse, and when they can use a loud voice (like when they go outside) put up the lion.
Songs, Chants, Poems - Practice singing songs or saying rhymes with a “lion,” “mouse,” or “normal” voice.
Put several small character toys in a lunch box. Explain that you have little friends in the lunch box who have teeny tiny ears. They can only come up if the children use teeny tiny voices. Take the friends out as you begin using a whisper voice. If the children get too loud say, “Oh, I’ll have to put our little friends back in the box because you’re hurting their ears.” You’ll be amazed how quiet they will be!
Cell Phone – Demonstrate loud and soft with the volume control on a phone or the computer.
Alphabet Conductor – Explain to the children that you will be the conductor as they sing the alphabet song. When your hands are close together they should whisper, but as your hands get farther apart they should sing louder. As you bring your hands closer together they should lower their voices to a whisper.
Volume Button - Use a cylinder block for a microphone. Attach a sticky dot for a volume button. Pass the “microphone” around the room for the children to say “Good morning!” or another simple phrase. Remind them to turn the volume up if their voice is too soft. Turn the volume down if their voice is too loud.
Simon Says – Play “Simon Says” as you ask children to clap, stomp, or make other noises loud or soft.
Simon says clap loud.
Simon says clap soft.
Simon says hum loud.
Simon says hum soft.
Stomp loud. Oops! Simon didn’t say!
Musical Instruments – Place several musical instruments (drum, sticks, triangle, etc.) on the floor. Children close their eyes, listen, and describe if you made a loud or soft noise. They could raise their hand if the noise is loud or keep their hand in their lap if it is soft.
Teacher says: Give me cheer number one. (Hold up one finger.)
Children cheer loudly.
Teacher says: Give me cheer number two. (Hold up two fingers.)
Children cheer a little softer.
Teacher says: Give me cheer number three. (Hold up 3 fingers.)
Children give a silent cheer.
(Hold up your index finger as you sing this song to the tune of “London Bridge.”)
Henry Hush says,
“Please be quiet.” (Pretend index finger is Henry.)
“Please be quiet.”
“Please be quiet.”
Henry Hush says, “Please be quiet.”
Shh! Shh! Shh! (Finger on lips as you lower your voice.)
*Hint! My kids got a kick out of Henry when I drew him on my finger.