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Activity 3: Sounds of the Rainforest

Activity 3: Sounds of the Rainforest


In this section the children will learn to use their sense of hearing in order to explore the outside world. They will learn the importance of sound in identifying different objects, both natural and man-made. Then they will get to create their own rainforest concert!

Take a Listening Walk

Teach the children American Sign Language for a few outdoor sounds.

  1. Read The Listening Walk by Paul Showers. As you read the story, encourage the children to make the noises in the book
  2. Before heading outside for your own listening walk, teach the children American Sign Language for a few outdoor sounds (e.g. bird, car, leaves, people, squirrel, water, wind). Then, take an outdoor walk and use the signs to “tell” one another what you hear. Record your walk. Take some time outdoors to listen and talk about the sounds—both natural and human.
    • Ask: How would you describe this sound? Where do you think it is coming from? What do you think is making it? Can you imitate it?
  3. When you return to the classroom, set up a learning center with the recording and the labeled American Sign Language cards. Encourage the children to make new cards for the things heard on the walk. Visit for an illustrated American Sign Language dictionary.
    • Ask: What do you think you would hear if you took a listening walk in the rainforest?
  4. Read aloud the following Rainforest Alliance narrative “Sounds of the Rainforest.” Ask the students to close their eyes and imagine they are walking through the rainforest.
    Sounds of the Rainforest
    As you step into the rainforest, you look up at the tall trees. The trees feel like giants standing next to you. You almost can’t see the sky because there are so many leaves and branches over your head. “Woo-hoo-hoo! Au-oh-ah!” screeches a howler monkey as he swings from branch to branch. You hear the branches brush against each other-”swoosh, swoosh.” The swaying branches cause seeds to fall down into the rainforest floor. Plop! Plop! You look down and see red-eyed treefrogs hop away (ribbit, ribbit), moving the fallen leaves on the ground which make a rustling noise. You walk further into the rainforest. The forest floor feels like wet, squishy sponges. With each step you make, you hear a “squish! squish!” You notice an army of leaf cutter ants lining up and carrying leaves to their nests. You listen hard but the ants do not make a peep. But, you hear flying insects buzzing all around you. Bzzzzzzz. A mosquito flies close to your ear. You swat it away just as two beautiful macaw birds squawk as they fly above, searching for fruit to eat. Drip! Drip! Drip! Just then you hear raindrops begin to fall. The rain starts to pour down. Drip! Pitter! Patter! Drip! You hide under a giant palm leaf listen to the birds sing and tweet as they play in the rain.
  5. Ask children to complete the following sentence: “I went walking in the rainforest, and I heard...”
    Have the children choose the number and type of animals. Encourage them to act out each sentence. Write number sentences on the board to represent the statements.

A Rainforest Concert

  • Read Meet the Howlers! By April Pulley Sayre.
  • Ask: What sound do howler monkeys make? Where do howler monkeys live? How do howler monkeys move from tree to tree? What do howler monkeys eat? (Check out our howler monkey species profile which includes sounds of howlers monkeys at night.)
  • Create an “All About” book featuring howler monkeys.
  • Using the Rainforest Alliance species profiles, coloring book and sounds from the Rainforest Alliance TreeHouse, create “All About” books about various rainforest animals.
  • Have students create masks representing rainforest animals.
  • Tell the children they are going to create their own forest music by using their bodies and voices to make different sounds. You can conduct the forest symphony by asking the children to start and stop, by encouraging them to get louder or softer, or by pointing to certain children to “play” solos.
  • Ask: What is your favorite forest sound? Why? How did the different sounds of the forest make you feel?

Help the children in creating rainforest instruments

A Rattle Stick


  • 1” x 2” piece of wood approx. 7” long
  • 8 bottle caps
  • 4 nails
  • Hammer


  1. Make sure the wood is sanded smooth
  2. Punch holes in the bottle caps using a hammer and a large nail
  3. Loosely nail 2 sets of 2 caps on each side, leaving room for the caps to slide (a total of 4 nails and 8 caps)
  4. Shake the rattling stick back and forth!
A Rainstick

As a class, write a poem about rainforest animals or the symphony. Ask children to write individual poems.

Literacy Connection:

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