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Jingle Bell Silencer Challenge

Activity adapted from Little Bins for Little Hands Jingle Bell STEM challenge.


Can you muffle the sound of a jingle bell using a variety of Christmas-themed items? Explore your sense of hearing in this simple activity.

Grade level: PreK-5

Time: 45 minutes


For each student or team:

  • Reusable/Fillable Plastic Christmas Ornament (small plastic container will work too)
  • Jingle Bells

For the group:

  • Tissue Paper
  • Pom Poms (can substitute cotton balls)
  • Tinsel
  • Bows
Gemini astronauts Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford became the first musicians in space when they played “Jingle Bells” in December 1965, causing NASA’s mission control to nearly lose control. Bells and harmonica now reside in the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum collection. Read the Smithsonian magazine account. Listen to the soundtrack HERE.


Before the activity, have students explore the materials. Place a single bell inside the ornament without any of the materials to check out the sound. Experiment with different amounts of jingle bells. 

Pack in the pom poms, close it up and give it a shake! Can you hear the jingle bell?

Do you need to add more pom poms to the ornament? If you still hear the jingle bell, why do you think you still hear it?

What can you change to try it again?


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