WaterWorks - 2007 Resource Guide

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Kohl Children's Museum - Water You Listening To?

Splash! Gurgle! Drip! Listen closely-there's an aquatic symphony to be discovered in the movement of water. Don't believe us? Just ask your children.

Kids often seem to have an innate ear for water music, a capability that unfortunately fades as the years go by if not tuned or developed. From a chorus of raindrops pelting a rooftop to the satisfying splash of galoshes in a puddle, children delight in the varying sounds of water.


As water interacts with the world around it, it makes music. Listen to the crescendo of a rushing stream over river stones. Blow through a straw into a full drinking glass to start bubbling melodies. Plunk water balloons or full jugs to make deep bass sounds. Water sings, and children hear.

At Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview, kids can explore the world of water and sound. In the Water Works exhibit (intentionally positioned next to the Music Makers exhibit), there are a number of ways to make water music. The most noticeable way is by aiming and squirting jets of water against cowbells, gongs, and wind chimes to make a more traditional music.

Open your imagination, though, and the water room can become an orchestra. There's the high-pitched treble of spray droplets hitting the surface a small pool, accented by the deep baritone rush of a whooshing waterfall. Rhythmic splashes and splunks can be made with conveyor belt buckets scooping water into a dump tank. Where a closed mind might hear just noise, a vivid imagination picks out a melodic streaming composition.

There's a brilliant moment in the 1985 film The Color Purple in which Whoopi Goldberg sits in her living room as drops of rain plunk through a leaky roofs into strategically-placed pots. As she reads a letter from her sister in Africa, the sounds of the raindrops gradually transform into the tribal beat of native African drummers. Music is there; we just have to hear it.

For more information, visit www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org.
Kohl Children's Museum

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