Making a Sound Map

This is an easy to do activity involving simple resources and taking as much or little time as you wish. It teaches you to sit still and listen to the sounds of nature all around you.

All you need is a piece of paper and a pen or pencil to draw with.

Find yourself a spot to sit where you can listen to sounds around you, somewhere with a few trees, near a stream and some bushes will give you a variety of animal sounds to draw on your map.

Firstly take your paper and draw an X in the centre to represent yourself.

Sit still and listen to the sounds you can hear around you. Maybe you can hear the wind in the trees, ducks splashing in the water, a train going by, the drumming of a woodpecker?

When you hear a sound make a mark on your map in the direction of the sound from where you are sitting on the X spot.

You don’t need to draw a picture for each sound, just make a simple mark. For example, a few wavy lines could represent a gust of wind, or a musical note could indicate a singing bird. Drawing darker lines could indicate a louder sound and lighter lights a quiet sound. Marks closer to the X will be closer to you and those in the distance will be drawn on the edge of the paper. Making simple marks keeps the focus on listening rather than on drawing. 

Here is a link to a YouTube video, from the Canadian Royal Botanical Gardens, explaining how to make a sound map. Her map includes pictures of birds, car and lawnmower but you can make yours even more abstract to really represent the sounds that you hear.

Here is an example of a map made in my garden. I could hear wind, cars on the bypass, a squirrel running up and down a tree, several different birds singing including a seagull, robin, song thrush and a blue tit, my car miaowing and someone next door using a hedge trimmer.

You can listen to different birds that might be found on the railway land by following this link.