Homemade Musical Instruments

By Helen Thompson, Nursery Nurse and Brain Gym® Consultant

Musical instruments are fun for children of any age to play with. Making their own instruments is excellent in building self-esteem and encourages them to be creative, so why not have fun with your children and help them to make some instruments!

This article covers the materials that you need to make three instruments that are very simple to make.

You will need the following items to make all 3 instruments Old plastic bottles which have been washed out and dried thoroughly. Plastic tubing or old pipes. Colored or natural sand, dried beans, rice, buttons or anything else that you have that makes a noise when you shake it (the colored sand is a nice effect to have in a see-through plastic bottle). Paint - colours of your choice. Glitter and anything that your kids would like to use to decorate the instrument. PVC glue to stick items with, or you can use the paste recipe that is on my site. Small pieces of broom handles (you can buy a large broom handle and saw it into smaller pieces to make stick instruments). It is extremely important for safety reasons that you ensure that the children are at a safe distance when you use the saw. It is also a good idea to smooth the wood with sandpaper, to ensure that there are no rough edges that could cause cuts. A good hardware store maybe able to do this for you. Please read the Tapping Sticks instructions first to ensure that you use the correct lengths. Poster tubes small or large (these are tubes that you can put posters in to send or to protect them). Now that you have the necessary items together, you are ready to get started and here's three different instruments for your children to make.

1) Shaker Use a small or large, clean dry plastic bottle and decorate it as you wish. When you have finished painting it or decorating it with your own designs, pour some dry rice, lentils or beans inside through the neck (you can use a variety to obtain different sound effects) and then put the lid back on tightly. It is important to secure the lid tightly and wrapping some thick black tape around it will ensure that it does not come loose (it is essential that they can hold and shake the bottle without everything falling out).

Please remember that babies love to put everything in their mouths, so be careful what you use.

If you have used paper or glitter to decorate the instruments, it is a good idea to cover it with contact paper, to protect the materials from falling off. This also ensures that your children do not end up with sticky hands.

A good option is to use clear plastic tubing, so that the children can see the inside when they shake it (if you go this route, then it is very important to ensure that both ends are sealed up when you are finished).

You're finished and now have a wonderful shaker for the children to use.

2) To make a Didgeridoo The Didgeridoo is an ancient instrument used by Australia's native aborigines. For those of you who want to know more about this fascinating instrument, here are a few facts..

Possibly the world's oldest musical instrument A wind instrument originally found in Arnhem Land, Northern Australia. Is made from limbs and tree trunks hollowed out by termites (insects). Is cut to an average length of 1.3 metres (51 inches) and cleaned out with a stick or hot coals. Was used as an accompaniment to chants and songs. Produces a low-pitch, resonant sound with complex rhythmic patterns.

Whilst traditionally the Didgeridoo is made from wood, you can make one using plastic tubing or a poster tube.

Choose the colors that you want to paint with (the paint must be non-toxic and safe for children to use). The aboriginals use natural colors, but you can use whatever you want. Paint the whole tube with colours of your choice, then leave it to dry and you have your very own home made Didgeridoo. Do not cover up the ends, as it will not make any sound. Blow into the tube and make different sounds as you do so. Playing the Didgeridoo well is not an easy task but it really is a beautiful instrument and it has a great sound when played well.

Click here to find out more about the Didgeridoo and Australia's aborigines.

3) Tapping Sticks Cut the broom handles to size - 20cm (7.9 inches) is a good size for children to handle easily. Paint the handle pieces with colorful paint and have fun painting them with your own designs. When the paint is dry they are ready to use. You can varnish them as well, but be aware that the coloring may change slightly.

Of course, if you do not want to make your own, then if you have patient neighbours, you can use pots and pans and wooden spoons. Children love to bang and make a noise with these. It can be just as much fun as making them!


Helen Thompson is a qualified child care worker (Nursery Nurse) and Brain Gym® consultant who has spent many years working with children aged between 0 - 8 years. Helen has worked with children in both Australia and the United Kingdom. Visit http://www.ChildLearningSupport.com to find out more.

Article Source http://www.ChildLearningSupport.com
Reprinted with permission.


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