A sound wave is a vibration that moves through matter. It spreads out in all directions (think of dropping a pebble into a puddle of water and watching the ripples it makes).
Sound waves travel back and forth. Here are 3 ways to illustrate this back and forth motion for children.
Using a Slinky Toy
Stretch out the Slinky on a smooth floor
Have someone hold one end.
Holding the other end, give it a heavy push toward the other person.
The coils bunch up together then spread out. Sound waves travel like that too.
Using a Rope
Tie one end of a rope on a post or door handle.
Hold the other end tightly.
Shake your hand to make the wave.
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Have dominoes represent tiny particles of matter called molecules.
Line up the dominoes (molecules) approximately 2 cm. apart.
Push the first domino into the second domino.
Watch all the dominoes fall over.
Sound energy is transferred from one domino (molecule) to another as they fall.