Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!

Yes, I am good at something. I am proficient at making noises. I have quite a catalog of noisemaker formulae stored in my gray matter, and I am having fun rediscovering these skills with my children. Here is a list of noises that I have been teaching them.

With nature

One of my favorite noisemakers can be made just about anywhere with a blade of grass. While it’s often called a grass “whistle”, this is actually a misnomer since it’s technically a reed instrument. There’s a bunch of instructional videos available on YouTube, but I think that this short clip captures the fun and chaos of a group of kids learning to do it for the first time:

Another easy and fun whistle (an actual whistle this time) can be made out of an acorn cap. A bottle cap works as a substitute when no oak trees are nearby. This one can be extremely loud when done correctly.

With refuse from snacks

Most people are familiar with the technique of blowing across the opening of a bottle to make a low whistling sound. This is the most versatile technique in my list since it can produce a wide spectrum of notes without much effort. Here is a fun video using beverage bottles:

It doesn’t quite fit in this list, but I’ll briefly mention that the glass harp is similar, but it is more melodic and also more challenging. Here is an example:

An empty raisin box (or certain other food boxes) can be used as a reed instrument to make a sound similar to the grass whistle. Here is a nice example of this technique:

One of my favorite snack-time noisemakers is a juice box. When stomped, a juice box will burst with a satisfying, loud pop, as seen here:

With school supplies

An origami popper can be made from just a plain sheet of writing paper. With a bit of practice, a single popper can be used repeatedly to make a loud pop, as demonstrated in this video:

While noise is not the primary function of a jumping paper clip, I decided to include it here because I think of it as the same category of hacked toy as many of the other entries. And the paperclip does make some very interesting noises.

With your body parts

Don’t have any of these implements handy? You can make some very fun noises with your own body parts. For example, the finger pop:

The hand whistle takes a bit of practice, but can be very fun once you get the hang of it. Here is a good demonstration:

The last item on my list is the classic armpit fart. It’s a big hit with the boys. This video captures the sheer juvenile nature of the skill very nicely, and the British accent adds a bit of class as well.

Anything I missed?

Did I neglect to mention your favorite noise-making technique? Leave a comment to let me know.

– danBhentschel

RANT: Spitting in urinals

My apologies to my female readers. You most likely have never witnessed the “beauty” of perfectly executed urinal expectorating, and so the topic of this rant may not be of particular interest. For those who are not familiar with the phenomenon, let me elaborate.

I’m in the men’s room, doing my thing. A man walks up to the urinal next to me, snorts and snuffles, and then hocks a big one. He then starts to relieve himself, and in mid-stream, leans over and lets fly another glob. He then finishes up, and spits again while zipping his fly. Finally he flushes and adds a fourth shot, for good measure, while the water is still running.

I witness such displays (of masculinity?) on a fairly regular basis, and every time, I’m perplexed. What is the attraction of spitting in a urinal? Does this same man spit outside on the sidewalk every chance he gets? Is it a game, or does he have a cold?

Are any of my readers habitual urinal spitters? Can you possibly enlighten me as to the appeal?

– danBhentschel