Tag Archives: children’s musical instruments

Free Music Resources For Hispanic Heritage Month

HHM Mini poster freeCan you believe that Hispanic Heritage Month is almost here?

It’s celebrated every year from September 15th – October 15th and it’s a great time to connect, explore and enjoy the beauty and diversity of Hispanic cultures around the globe.  For the past several years, I’ve been adding free items to my TPT store to share with teachers, parents and homeschoolers who want to have some hands-on fun as part of their HHM experience.

Here’s our most recent list of HHM freebies that share the culture and musical traditions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and Spain.

Wishing you a wonderful Hispanic Heritage Month!

FREE RESOURCES

Make Your Own Guirohttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Latin-American-Guiro-1230266

josef and cajonMake Your Own Cajon Box Drumhttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Cajon-Make-And-Play-Your-Own-Box-Drum-1236616

What Is A Quijada (Jawbone Instrument https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-is-a-Quijada-Jawbone-Instrument-1406336

Mini-Poster (seen above) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Celebrate-Hispanic-Heritage-With-Music-Free-Mini-Poster-1430823

Mariachi Guitar Coloring Page -  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mariachi-Guitar-Coloring-Page-2511636

Charango Coloring Page -  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Charango-Instrument-Coloring-Page-2819105

Screen shot 2014-09-27 at 4.30.37 PMColor The Chapchas – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-The-Chapchas-An-Instrument-from-The-Andes-650050

Color The Zampoñas (Panpipes) – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-the-Zamponas-Panpipes-From-The-Andes-650601

Color The Bombo Drum – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-A-Bombo-A-Drum-From-The-Andes-650642

Lyric Sheet  – Bilingual La Cucaracha https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/La-Cucaracha-Lyric-Sheet-Bilingual-Version-2863996

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Seed Pods Rattles From Peru, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Africa!

pacay shaker on lliqllaIf you lived in ancient times or tribal days – what would you use to make music? You’d probably look around you for sticks, stones, bones or even seed pods that fell from trees! These would make excellent percussion and if you’re lucky enough to live in a tropical region, there are several trees that actually grow very cool seed pod rattles such as the pacay shaker seen on the colorful Peruvian cloth above.  You can learn more about seed pod trees here or in the more detailed links below.

The Pacay “Ice Cream” Tree

Isn’t that a cool name for a tree? The tall and lovely pacay tree got this name because the soft white pulp between the seeds in the seed pods is delicious and a pacay fruit - ripefavorite among kids dating back to the Incan times in South America. In fact, the earliest story of this seed pod comes from when the Spanish invaded South America and the last Inca gave a basket of pacay seed pods to Pizzaro as a gift. Now grown as shade trees near coffee plantations in Peru, this giant 60 foot tree is also found throughout Central America and the beans (seeds) are eaten as well. In Mexico, the beans inside the seed pods are roasted and served on the streets as a snack!

The Flame or Flamboyant Tree

Although the seed pods to this tree appear similar to the pacay shakers, the trees flame treethey come from are really different. The flamboyant tree is native to Africa but found throughout tropical regions around the world.  In some locations, such as Puerto Rico, it’s a beloved and iconic image seem in everything from photos to folk art!

The tree itself is ornamental, smaller in size, has fern-like leaves and bright, beautiful red flowers so it’s easy to see how it got it’s name. Although the seeds here are not edible, the seed pods still make nice natural percussion instruments to use as shakers.

How Do You Make A Seed Pod Shaker?

That’s a trick question – you don’t! They work as rattles directly from the tree. Well, when dried, of course. If you’re in an area where these trees grow you’ll probably find seed pods that have fallen and are hard, dry and brown in color. At that point, pick them up and shake them and they are instant rattles!

Will each seed pod sound the same? Try several and see for yourselves!

Pacay Shaker in Josef's HandHow Do You Play One?

Although this is a really basic and simple instrument, there are several ways to get different sounds from a seed pod rattle. Try any of these:

  • Rattle it back and forth or up and down.
  • Rattle it slowly then build up a crescendo.
  • Hold it in one hand and tap it against the other.
  • March or dance while shaking it, letting the beat become part of your movement or music!

Links and Resources

Lost Crops of the Incas: Little-Known Plants of the Andes with Promise for Worldwide Cultivation https://www.nap.edu/read/1398/chapter/33#284

The Flame or Flambouyant Tree – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delonix_regia

The Flamboyant Tree: A Puerto Rico Icon: http://caribbeantrading.com/the-flamboyant-tree-a-puerto-rico-icon/

Pacay: A Tree, a Fruit, a Bean, and a Musical Instrument – http://kidworldcitizen.org/2013/10/21/pacay-tree-fruit-bean-musical-instrument/

Make An Ocean Drum for World Oceans Day

me and the dolphinHave you heard of World Oceans Day? Celebrated annually on June 8th, it’s an internationally recognized and celebrated day to learn, share, preserve and promote one of our most magnificent resources, the oceans and seas.

The World Oceans Days website (link below) is a wealth of information – including research on pollution, posters in 15 languages, and a variety of action steps that anyone can take to make a difference. Visit the site to learn how oceans regulate our climate, generate most of the oxygen we breathe, clean the water that we drink and so much more.

Want to combine your learning with a fun recycled music craft?  Here’s a way you can reduce, reuse, recycle and make a great homemade drum that sounds remarkably like the sea!

What Is An Ocean Drum?

If you live near the sea or have visited an ocean, you know the wonderful, traditional ocean drumrelaxing sound of waves coming and going along the seashore. An ocean drum is a 2 sided hand drum that – when played – sounds just like the surf. In fact, if you close your eyes, you can imagine you are right there on the beach, hearing the waves as they come and go.

Above is a picture of a traditional ocean drum.

Make Your Own Recycled Ocean Drum

blue ocean drum kimbertonCheck your recycling bin.  Do you have a sturdy pizza box or a mailing box with dimensions somewhat like the one seen here?  If you do, you can fill the bottom of the box with sand, salt, seed beads or any tiny pasta (like acini de pepe). There’s also some great ways to create a window to the drum, decorate the outside and seal the box so the contents don’t escape and you can use it for weeks to come.

Ocean Drum Tutorial Free

Want a step-by-step tutorial plus other great info on this drum and world music instruments? Until June 16th, we’ve reduced the price of this great kids music resource to – free!  (Note: If you read this post after June 16, 2017 and need a free educator’s copy, just contact daria at dariamusic at yahoo dot com for more info).

Links And Resources

ocean drum pdfFree Tutorial – MYO Ocean Drum – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ocean-Drum-Craft-1567951

World Oceans Day – Main Sitehttp://www.worldoceansday.org/

Find An Oceans Day Event Near You – http://www.worldoceansday.org/events_list

A Rhythm Tree For Earth Day Or Any Day

Here’s a great project for Earth Day or a summer camp or group play activity. It’s a fun way to combine recycling and reusing materials with discovering rhythm and creative music-making.

A while back, we did a post about rhythm trees and you can find that listed below.  But since we also get questions about the best components for this project, we thought we’d share a list here, just in time for outdoor musical fun.

And remember, if you don’t have the perfect music tree, you can also do this project on a clothesline or between poles on a playground.

So here’s our top suggestions.

Pizza Pie Plate Gong

STARR GARDENS - a few instruments for Rhythm TreeThese sound great and provide a nice large surface for tapping and drumming. Look for used metal containers such as turkey pans or pizza pie plates. They can be painted and decorated and hung at various heights from your tree or clothesline. If you can find trash can lids or used pans or pots that aren’t too heavy, they might make a nice addition to the project as well.

Milk Jug Rattle

Rhythm tree - clothesline instrumentsClean a large plastic container and add some rattling components inside. Decorate the outside of the container, if you like as well.  Seal it up and hang it for a nice sound when tapped. If you hang it low enough, kids can also grab and shake or “swoosh” the container for a different kind of percussion sound.

A Giant Guiro

rhythm tree - paper towel roll guiroThreading together wrapping paper or poster tube rolls makes for a giant guiro. Take a stick or a whisk and brush it down the sides for a fun repeating percussive sound.

 

Hanging Log Drum

rhythm tree playing tubeIf you can find a large tube like these, you can hang it up and play it like the type of log drums found in Africa, the Pacific Islands or the Northern Native American tribes, like the Inuit.  Tapping different sections of the drum will produce slightly different sounds – what fun!

Play With Your Hands – Or With Recycled Mallets

homemade guiro and 6 raspsSome of the instruments you hang can be tapped or played with your hands. Easy mallets can also be created from wooden dowels, wooden spoons, sticks, unsharpened pencils, plastic spoons or forks, hair picks, chopsticks or similar objects.

 

What Else Can You Find To Make Music With?

little-guy-and-washboardThe best part of this project is seeing how creative kids can be with everyday items. Encourage your little ones to come up with suggestions of what else might become part of an amazing and fun musical tree.

Links and Resources

Make Your Own Rhythm Tree:  http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/a-music-tree-or-rhythm-clothesline-for-outdoor-musical-fun/

Natural Instruments – Sticks, Stones and Bamboo Percussion For Kids: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/all-natural-instruments-sticks-stones-and-bamboo-percussion-for-kids/

Seven Awesome Summer Music Activities:  http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/7-awesome-summer-music-ideas/

Turn A Milk Jug Into A Recycled Shekere: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/turn-a-milk-jug-into-a-recycled-shekere/

Chinese New Year For Kids – Music and Crafts!

Screen shot 2017-01-27 at 11.40.50 AMIn 2017, the Chinese Lunar New Year begins on January 28th and we welcome in the year of the fire rooster!

Over the past years, we’ve shared some of our favorite music crafts that are easy to make for all ages and use recycled and “on-hand” materials. This year we decided to do share our 3 most popular music crafts as well as share our favorite Chinese New Year Pinterest Board, so you can explore a world of great crafts, foods, books, games and activities and related Chinese New Year Kids activities.

So bang a gong, make a paper lantern,color a New Years greeting and celebrate a beautiful Chinese Lunar New Year!

Music Posts

sheep goat gongMake Your Own Gong Post- http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/bang-a-gong/

PDF Activity (free on TPT) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

Bolang Gu creft + real oneMake Your Own Bolang Gu Chinese Pellet Drum Post http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/make-your-own-bolang-gu-chinese-pellet-drum/

PDF on TPT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

Make Your Own Tinghsha Handbells – PDF on TPT Tinghsa on redhttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Explore-Tibetan-Handbells-Plus-a-Make-Your-Own-Handbell-Craft-560016

 

A World Of Great Crafts And Activities – Via Pinterest!

I’m proud to be part of the Multicultural Kid Bloggers networks who hosts a Chinese New Year Pinterest board.  Visit here for an ever-expanding collection of Screen shot 2017-01-27 at 12.05.38 PMgreat crafts, activities, coloring pages, books, foods and more.   Some of our favorite are the pretty paper lantern craft,  fortune cookie activity, the Chinese zodiac matching cards and … so … much … more!

https://www.pinterest.com/MKBlogs/chinese-new-year/

How To Make Bottle Cap Bangles For Recycled Musical Instruments

tambourine-with-zilsIf you’ve ever made a homemade tambourine or sistrum, you’ve probably wanted to use bangles like those seen on traditional middle eastern drums or instruments.  Technically, these round thin mini-cymbals are called zils.  You can see some lovely large zils on this antique tambourine from the Middle East.

If you’re crafting an instrument that uses these bangles, it’s easy to make a simple version of zils out of recycled bottle caps using a few tools that are handy around any home or garage.

bangles-work-areaWhat You Need

Metal bottle caps
Piece of Wood
Hammer
Large nail with a head
Safety Goggles

 

Safety First

Although this is a reasonably safe and easy project, it’s always a good idea to use caution.  Wearing safety goggles means that your eyes and face are protected if you accidentally hit the cap too hard and it bounces off the wooden work surface. In general, a good tip for this project is to use the hammer slowly and gently, tapping repeatedly until you get the desired results.

Set Up A Work Area

Set the piece of wood down either on the floor, the ground or a sturdy table.  Place the metal bottle cap (cap-side-up) and then position the large nail above it, directly in the center.  Gently tap until the nail has pierced the cap and reached down into the wood.  This creates the hole that will allow you to thread it onto whatever you are making.

Next, With cap-side-down, next gently strike all the edges of the bottle cap until it slowly flattens.  This can take 15, 20 or more gentle taps with the hammer.

bangles-from-bottle-capsNext, turn the bottle cap over.  Continue to tap the outer edges and the inner circle until all the sharp edges are flattened and pressed into the cap’s surface.  Although some recycled projects use the bottle caps in their original form – such as the wooden sistrum from Africa seen below – flattening the bangles makes them safer to handle and use in any project.

If you’re doing this project with very small children, you might wish to create the bangles in advance and focus more on how the children can string the bangles plus other rattling objects onto their craft instrument.

giveaway-wooden-sistrum-africaWondering what else you could add to a tambourine or sistrum project?  In addition to bottle cap zils, you can add paper clips, buttons, jingles, beads or pull tabs from soda cans.  Remember, while you’re reducing, reusing and recycling, you’re also teaching kids to limit their use of resources but never limit their imagination or creativity!

And that’s a win/win for everyone!

Links and Resources

Color An Ancient Egyptian Sistrum  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-An-Ancient-Egyptian-Rattle-The-Sistrum-2166721

Ancient Instruments – Make Your Own Egyptian Sistrum https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ancient-Instruments-Make-Your-Own-Egyptian-Sistrum-Rattle-1617163

Ancient Instruments From The Middle East, Kids Mini-Lesson https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ancient-Instruments-From-The-Middle-East-Mini-Lesson-2127995

7 Awesome Summer Music Ideas!

Rhythm Tree drumming around

Will you be going camping, hosting a summer camp or just having a staycation in the great outdoors of your big backyard?

If so, music may be one of the creative activities you can include to make it even more enriching, fun and memorable.  Here’s a compilation of our most popular “making music outdoors” posts.

Make a Rhythm Tree

rhythm tree - playgroundYou already have the components for a large outdoor percussion place right in your garage or recycling bin!  A bit of artistic creativity can turn them into items to adorn a tree for free form musical expression.  Don’t have the perfect tree?  You can always substitute a clothesline or rope for a different version of this great kids project.  Check out the full post here:

http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/a-music-tree-or-rhythm-clothesline-for-outdoor-musical-fun/

Nature Walk Rattle

Earth Day Rattle FinishedThis super-simple craft starts with a wide-mouth recyclable container and ends – anywhere you want it to!  Talk a hike around your local park, lake or playground and you can identify and gather materials that will shake rattle and roll for you.  Do this activity for younger kids as a sensory craft or for older kids as a plant or natural object identification quest.  Or a scavenger hunt.  Anyone up for finding a fern frond, a hickory nut or a pine cone?  All the details are here: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/make-an-earth-day-nature-walk-rattle/

Make a Bullroarer!

bullroarers - plasticWant to create a musical instrument shared by both Australian Aboriginal and Native American peoples?  Make and play a bullroarer and you should be able to hear it an amazingly long distance away.  Since this requires a bit of space to play, it’s perfect for large open spaces or as an outdoor activity.  Check out the crazy sound it makes and the complete post about Australian instruments here: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/outdoor-musical-play-make-your-own-bullroarer/

Do The Limbo

limbo at core creekHave a large group of kids and want to get a lakeside or pool party going – start the limbo.  This post shares the background of the limbo plus several ways you can adjust the rules for kids of all ages and abilities.  How low can you go?  Find out here: https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/it%E2%80%99s-summertime-%E2%80%93-do-the-limbo/

Gourd Water Drum

plastic water drum playingVersions of this drum that floats on water are found in both Mayan and African cultures.  Make your own version outside on a hot day and create some amazing sounds while cooling off and playing in the water!  Read all about it here: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/musical-water-play-a-myo-gourd-style-water-drum/

Craft it Up!

bella and washboardAlthough this is an Earth Day themed E-book, the 10 crafts start with recycled materials found anywhere and end up with gongs, drums, rattles, clapsticks and much more.  Check out this E-book plus cd, for lots of ideas for the summer craft table: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/EARTH-DAY-CD-PLUS-E-BOOK-OF-10-RECYCLED-MUSICAL-ACTIVITIES-658096

Write An Earth Day Song

You don’t need to go to a music camp to learn basic songwriting with easy activities like this that take a recognizable melody and help you craft your own small hands change the worldlyrics.  Use the Earth Day theme or choose another subject and you’re on your way to creating a personalized soundtrack to this summer’s fun.  No previous songwriting experience needed!  Check it out here: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/sing-your-own-earth-day-song/

Kaleidoscope Rattles

kaleidoscope rattle and shayHave you ever looked through a kaleidoscope to see an ever-changing array of beautiful colors?

Here’s a fun little rattle that creates a lovely flow of colors when it’s played. And it’s nice and quiet so it’s perfect for music-making with a large group of children or for kids who have noise sensitivity. It’s also one of our favorite projects for creating with kids on the autistic spectrum as it’s fun to make, easy to control and the sound is soothing and not harsh or abrupt.

Here’s what you need to make your own kaleidoscope rattles.

Supplies

Clear Recycled Plastic Bottles (like from water or juice) with a lid
Q-tips
Washable markers
Electric tape (for sealing the rattles)

What To Do

Clean and dry the plastic bottles thoroughly. You can do this easily by rinsing them out and placing them upside down in a regular glass or a jar.

Kaleidoscope Q tipsNext take the washable markers and color the tips of the Q-tips any color that you like.  Color as many as you like and drop them into the bottle.

Every so often, shake the bottle to see if you like the sound. The tone of the rattle will change each time you add another Q-tip to the container!

When you’re satisfied with the array of color and the sound of the rattle, put the lid on and seal it up with electrical tape to keep the contents inside.

Time To Play!

kaleidoscope tableShaking the rattle around in a circular motion displays a wonderful changing series of colors.  But since this is a rattle, you can play it any way you like. Shake it up and down, side to side or get up and dance with it!

Shake it along with a favorite song that you love to sing. Or play along to recorded music. Make several and compare the sounds as well as the colors as you enjoy your handiwork.

Have fun and keep making music!

Chinese New Year Music Crafts For Kids!

mandarinBoyRedHave you heard? February 8th marked the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year and it’s the year of the Fire Monkey.

If you’re unfamiliar with Chinese New Year, here is our compilation post that shares some wonderful ways to learn more and celebrate right in your home or classroom.  The first group of posts are music and music-related, but we just could not resist adding ones about food, fun and other festivities!

And stay tuned for our next post that teaches you a very familiar and easy-to-learn Chinese New Year song!

Music Crafts For Chinese New Year

Bolang Gu  - Craft versionMake a Bolang Gu – Monkey Drum https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

Make Your Own Chinese Gong https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

Explore and Make Tibetan Handbells https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Explore-Tibetan-Handbells-Plus-a-Make-Your-Own-Handbell-Craft-560016

Erhu - Color ImageColor an Erhu – A Two-Stringed Chinese Violin https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Erhu-Chinese-Violin-Instruments-From-Around-The-World-1037355

About Chinese New Year

“Gong Xi! Gong Xi!” – The Excitement of Chinese New Year https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/gong-xi-gong-xi-the-excitement-of-chinese-new-year/

Chinese New Year ScrollsWhat To Expect In The Year of The Monkey http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/2016/01/18/year-of-the-monkey-chinese-new-year/

Chinese New Year Astrology Chart – Find Your Birth Year Here! https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-Astrology-Chart-What-Lunar-Year-Is-It-2377484b

dragon dance imageChinese New Year – Crafts And Creativity!

Chinese Dumplings For New Year  http://kidworldcitizen.org/2016/02/08/8935/

Lucky Money Envelops  http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/lucky-money-envelopes

Chinese Paper Lantern Craft – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/462956036675678391/

How To Make Paper Fortune Cookies http://unsophisticook.com/how-to-make-paper-fortune-cookies/

Recipes To Celebrate Chinese New Year http://intheplayroom.co.uk/2015/01/26/chinese-recipes-celebrate-chinese-new-year/

Picture Books Celebrating Chinese New Year http://youthlitreviews.com/2014/01/13/chinese-new-year-books-for-kids/

Make A Little Drum Beater For A Big Drum!

kids playing pueblo drumNovember is Native American Heritage month and it’s a great time to step right up and play a big drum!

Whether it’s a pow-wow drum, a pueblo drum (as seen here) or another drum you have, you’ll need a special stick to play that drum. And here’s how you can make an easy version, perfect for small hands with big hearts!

Pencil Mini-Drum Beaters -Materials Needed

One pencil per child

Colorful electrical or washi tape

Pipe cleaners (optional)

Feathers (optional)

pencil drum beatersStart with colorful (unsharpened) pencils. Wrap the pencil side with the electrical or washi tape and add feathers with pipe cleaners if desired.

These smaller beaters are the perfect size for young children to hold and will make it easier for them to tap or play a drum.

Playing Any Drum

Use your drum beater to play a frameless pow-wow drum (instructions below) or tap out a beat on any drum you might have around the classroom or house.

Don’t have a drum handy? No problem, I suggest you find a round container, like a sturdy laundry hamper or large plastic container and improvise a drum. Overturned pots and pans will work as well, but can be really loud and possibly have an adverse effect on young children’s hearing.

Playing A Pow-Wow Drum

pencil beater on drumTo play a Native American pow-wow drum, each drummer will need one beater.  The goal is to play in unison, with everyone’s beater hitting the drum head at the same time.  This can be a wonderful way to teach cooperation and listening skills as the sound of the drum is amazing and powerful when everyone strikes together!

Want to hear a real pow-wow drum and a pow-wow drum song.  Check out the Starfeather Group who you can hear in the links below.

Can you play along to those powerful songs?

Links and Resources

pow wow drumHear a Pow-wow Drum  http://www.dariamusic.com/drum.php

Make a (Frameless) Pow-Wow Drum  http://www.dariamusic.com/make_Drum.php

Color a Pow-wow Drum – Printable and Online http://www.dariamusic.com/drum.php

You are welcome At A Native American Pow-Wow (Post on Pow-Wow Etiquette) http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/2014/11/02/native-american-pow-wow/

Make A Native American Turtle Rattle From Recycled Materials https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Native-American-Turtle-Shell-Rattle-Craft-Using-Recycled-Materials-600715