I am happy to introduce you to my friends. They love to bring smiles to small faces, and they each teach something about music too!
I use these little friends with toddlers and preschoolers when introducing these concepts, and we reinforce the concepts and teach aural awareness with them as well.
My favorite activity is to choose either short/long or loud/soft, and place the two animals in the middle of the circle of kids. (Have them sit on the floor.) First we go over which animal goes with which concept. For the polar bear we all give a loud "ROAR," and for the duckling, we quietly "peep."
Next, I play something fun on the piano that clearly demonstrates one of the two concepts, and the children touch the animal that the music demonstrates. If they are not in agreement, I play the piece again and give the correct answer.
The children love physically touching the animals, and they really feel like they are part of the process when they have a manipulative to interact with. Plus, many small children love small animals, so they can connect with the concepts through their interest in the stuffed animals.
What do you do to teach soft and loud and long and short sounds?