Tag Archives: Green crafts

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

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Make-Your-Own Confetti For Kids!

big-bottle-shaker-w-confettiConfetti!  Who doesn’t love it?

Although it can be messy, it’s a fun part of so many celebrations.  And we often add it to many of our recycled rattle projects to add color and a bit of extra merriment.

So what’s better then colorful confetti? Answer: recycling holiday wrapping to create your own endless supply of fun…con…fetti!  Here are three ways to make different kinds of confetti from extra holiday wrapping supplies.  Naturally, if working with younger kids, be aware of safety issues with scissors and substitute kid shears.  If working with very young children, you may want to make confetti in advance then allow them to choose or pour confetti through a large-mouthed funnel into your holiday rattles or crafts.

So don’t throw out that holiday packaging! Here’s how to make it part of your next celebration.

Hole Punch Confetti

hole-punch-confettiThis is clearly the easiest method and makes perfect little circles.  Just cut squares of used wrapping paper (the brighter, the better) and put several together before you start punching. You’ll easily find how many paper squares you can put together to get the most amount of confetti without straining your hand and your hole punch.

Other fun hole punches? Craft stores often have hole punches with different shapes and sizes, like stars and moons.  These make for wonderful additions to this project!

Cut Across Confetti

cut-across-confettiCut squares of used tissue paper or wrapping paper and put about 4 – 6 together.  Tape one side to keep the papers together.  Then make long scissors cuts up toward the taped side, but not into the taped area. Once you’ve made these long vertical cuts, you can cut straight across (in the opposite direction) and it will yield nice little uneven squares of confetti.

Snip-A-Ribbon Confetti

Have lots of used ribbon? This method yields a bit less confetti, but still makes snip-a-ribbon-confetticolorful little squares.  Simply hold 4 – 6 pieces of ribbon in your hand and snip across the top.  You can also cut longer pieces and make mock shredded paper.  Similarly you can curl ribbon and then cut the longer curls to add into your rattles.

Then, What?

By far, the two most popular confetti crafts are rattles and confetti poppers.  We have our rattle post below plus two different creative methods for MYO poppers (aka confetti cannons) in the links below.

Here’s wishing you a happy and joyful celebration!

Make Your Own New Year’s Eve Noise-Makers! http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/family-fun-2/make-your-own-new-years-eve-noise-makers/

Confetti Poppers From Push Pop Containers
http://www.thesitsgirls.com/diy/confetti-poppers/

Balloon Confetti Poppers From Adventures In Wunderland
http://adventuresinwunderland.com/balloon-confetti-poppers-new-years-eve-craft/

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

Take A Nature Walk – Make An Instrument!

sistrums-sticksAutumn is such a great time to take a nature walk with your child!  Maybe you have a wooded backyard or a park nearby?  Or perhaps there is a natural area near your home where you can enjoy the changing seasons.

As you take a walk in nature, look for any stick or small branch that’s formed in the shape of a “Y”.   If you find one, you can take it home and make a wonderful little musical instrument that actually dates back to ancient Egypt.

What Is A Sistrum

sistrum-posterSistrums are rattles that are found all over the world.  This clever little percussion instrument starts with some sort of forked object and then has a string or wire running between the two forks. On the strings or wires are objects that rattle and clank, making a lovely noise when shook back and forth.  In ancient Egypt, sistrums was used as part of the Pharaoh’s court and can even be seen pictured in hieroglyphics!

Supplies

Small stick or branch
Sand paper (optional)
Sturdy twine or floral wire
Colorful yarn
Noise-making Objects – buttons, beads, jingles, paper clips,
Recycled noise-making objects – soda tabs, bottle caps, compressed bottle tops (our next post will show you how to make and use these safely to avoid sharp edges).

Start with the Stick!

Once you’ve found a sturdy stick or branch that’s shaped like the letter “Y”, you making-sistrums-peace-valleymight want to take a bit of sandpaper and sand down any rough edges.  Then take the sturdy twine or floral wire and secure it to one side of the “Y”.  Now add any of rattling objects and hold the wire in place without wrapping it on the other side.  Check to see if you like the sound it creates.  If you do, then wrap the wire or twine securely in place.  If not, experiment with adding or removing objects to get the sound you like.

Here’s a hint, less objects often make a more pleasing sound!

Add extra strings of noise-makers if you like.

wooden-sistrumMaking It Unique

After creating the noise-making part of the rattle, you may wish to decorate the handle or the sides with colorful yarn, woven bands, electrical tape or even painting or adding other decorations. This is a very open-ended project and you can be very creative with it!

Learn About The History Of The Sistrum

If you want to tie this project into a study of world cultures, you can check out the Ancient Instruments of the Middle East kids music mini-course.  Or simply have fun with the Egyptian coloring page.  Links and other resources are below.  Happy crafting and music-making!

Links and Resources

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

Ancient Instruments of the Middle East  kids music mini-course https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ancient-Instruments-From-The-Middle-East-Mini-Lesson-2127995

Free Doumbek (Middle Eastern Drum) Poster and Coloring Page https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Middle-Eastern-Drums-Doumbek-Background-Coloring-Page-2049118

New Year’s Eve Noisemakers – Recycled Rattles!

recycled new years eve rattlesRing in the New Year – with recycled rattles!

While you’re wrapping up one year and preparing for a new one, here’s our second post in a series of fun and easy noise-makers for enjoying New Year’s Eve with children.

I often call these “everything except the kitchen sink” rattles, because you get to use whatever supplies that are left over from the holidays or from craft projects during the year gone by.

Start With A Clear Container

Check your recycling bin for nice sturdy clear plastic containers, such as bottles from iced tea or liter sodas. Rinse them then set them up side down to dry. Meanwhile, go on a treasure hunt for rattle fillings.

Loud Rattles, Quiet Rattles

Here are some of our favorite supplies for making truly loud rattles: large dried pasta, dried beans, buttons, large beads, or pebbles. For quieter rattles, look for smaller objects such as birdseed, rice, Q-tips, cut-up straws, paper clips, small buttons or beads and tiny pasta such as acini de pepe.

Add Some Color And Bling!

If you have extra holiday supplies on hand you can add jingle bells, glitter, confetti or colorful paper shreds to give a festive look to your New Years Eve rattles. You can also reuse ribbon and wrapping for colorful handles.

Seal The Rattle

Always remember to be child-safe and seal the completed rattles with a sturdy tape such as electrical or washi tape. That way, they can be lots of fun without presenting a hazard from the smaller contents inside the rattle.

Stay Tuned For Monkey Drums And Stadium Horns!

Our next post will be a fun variation on the Chinese bolang gu or monkey drum, plus a DIY vuvuzela stadium horn.

Honk if you’re hoping for a happy New Year!

vuvu brazil Links and Resources

Recycle Holiday Supplies Into Noise-makers http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/noisemakers-new-years-eve-craft/

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

Make Your Own Vuvuzela Stadium Horn https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Vuvuzela-Make-Play-Your-Own-South-African-Stadium-Horn-1242716

Noisemakers New Years Eve Craft!

Octopus rattle on greenHow will you celebrate New Year’s Eve?

It’s almost impossible to think of New Year’s Eve without some kind of noise-makers! Many adults have fond memories of banging on pots and pans, blowing toy horns and generally marking the arrival of a New Year with lots of sound and merriment!

Over the next few days, we’re sharing some simple, recycled crafts you can make with your children to ring in the New Year with joyful noise!

Crazy Octopus Rattles

These recycled rattles are easy to make and hold for even the youngest of Octopus rattle supplieschildren. They’re fun to shake without being overly loud. The supplies are found around any home and include wrapping paper (or toilet paper rolls), tape, colorful tape and ribbon or yarn.

How To Make It

Cut the wrapping paper rolls (or toilet paper rolls) into smalls sections. If you like, add stickers to the little sections or you can even paint them, if you have the extra time!

When the sections are ready, reserve two sections for the handle. Cut lengths of yarn or ribbon about 12 – 18” long, making each one slightly different in length. Then, the child can string each of the remaining sections onto a length of yarn or ribbon. The adult can help thread the yarn through one remaining section and octopus rattle halfway throughtape it into place. Although this might look a bit messy during the process, it will be covered up by the handle when the project is complete.

When you’ve strung a number of sections (8 for an octopus) you can add the handle. Cut the last section and slip it over the section where the yarn or ribbon is taped to form a sturdy handle. Cover the handle with colorful electrical tape, fancy duct tape or washi tape to look more decorative for the New Year!

How To Play

Shake it up… shake it down. Shake it all around. Especially at midnight or the hour you’re marking as New Years Eve! Make several with different colors or materials. Add some extra jingle bells, if you like.

And have a merry, musical New Year’s Eve!

Ocean Drum From A Pie Box – A Thanksgiving Music Craft

Ocean drum completeWho doesn’t love the soothing sound of the surf?  And who doesn’t have too many pie boxes around this time of year?

Combine those two things and you can have a handy, functional ocean drum made from a few materials found around your home.

What Is An Ocean Drum?

If you haven’t already fallen in love with an ocean drum, it’s a simple frame drum with small round objects between the two heads.  (You’ll get a chance to see and hear one below! ) When you tilt it from side to side, the little objects roll and the sound created is like waves lapping against the shore.  And even our craft version can create the relaxing and hypnotic effect of this quieting drum.

apple pie ocean drum suppliesGather A Few Supplies

Make sure you have a sturdy pie box, then look for whatever you have around your house that is small and round.  Almost any item will work, but objects like seed beads or round “acini de pepe” pasta will sound remarkably like the ocean.  Remember, the smaller and rounder the object, the more it will sound like the surf!

Then check your craft area for any supplies to decorate.  You can leave your pie box plain or feel free to make it unique by adding paint, stickers or other creative design ideas.  In the image at the top of this post, you can see that we painted the sides and added our favorite fishy stickers to keep with the ocean theme.

Add It In, Seal It Up!

ocean drum contents 1When you’ve completed your decoration, add your filling to the drum and see how it sounds.  The sound will change when you add more or less of what you’ve chosen to use, so adjust the contents until you’ve found the perfect sound for you.

Last, seal up with clear tape – packing tape works the best to keep all the tiny objects secure inside the box.

Check out the Real Thing… And A Sturdier Craft Version

Love this drum?  Here’s a short video of a real ocean drum demonstration.  And below is a link to a step-by-step tutorial for a sturdier version made with a packing box.  The larger size and the stronger cardboard make for a more resilient version of this enjoyable musical craft.

Special Kids and Adults And the Ocean Drum

This is one of our favorite crafts for creating with kids and adults of all abilities.  There are dozens of ways to personalize and play it, so these crafty oceans drums have been a bit hit when we are asked to do workshops with our special friends!

polka dot ocean drum kimbertonWe hope you love them, too!

Links and Resources

Ocean Drum Tutorial From The TeachersPayTeachers Site: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ocean-Drum-Craft-1567951

Earth Day Craft E-Book With 10 Green Crafts (Including The Ocean Drum)  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Rock-Out-E-Book-With-10-Musical-Activities-653502

Shake Them Rattles… And Bones!

real and homemade quijadaSo many kids love Halloween and this particular holiday invites you to explore things that are fantastic, creepy or even a bit scary!  So why not add some musical rattles to your slightly spooky fun?  And this recycled project is doubly scary, because it’s based on an actual set of bones – a jawbone to be exact!

What is a Quijada?

The quijada (this word means jawbone in Spanish) is a real musical instrument colorful quijadamade from the jawbone of a donkey.  It’s a part of Afro-Peruvian music and keeps the beat by making the sound of teeth rattling in their sockets- like the teeth you see here (to the left).  Most often it is played by striking it on the side of the jawbone with your fist but you may also see someone running a stick up and down the rows of teeth as seen here: http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?p=1530 .

A Green Version Of This Spooky Instrument

Since most folks won’t have access to jawbone and probably would not want to play one, we’ve created a version of this instrument from a recycled egg carton.  quijada suppliesYou get to pick what take the place of the teeth in each of the 12 spaces of the egg carton.  Try marbles, pebbles, rocks, pine cones, paper clips, beads, erasers buttons or any other object that that fits easily into that space.

Counting, Sorting and Listening Skills

One look at the empty egg carton and it’s easy to see how to incorporate counting and sorting skills into the creation of  this musical rattle.  Don’t rush to complete and close the rattle.  Stay and play at this stage as long as you like.

And since each set of objects will make a distinctly different sound, you can fill the rattle (or several egg cartons) several times and discover the different making a quijada recycledsounds each set of items makes when placed inside.

Will a paper clip egg carton rattle sounds the same as a marble rattle?  No way!

Seal It And Decorate

Last but not least, your rattle will need a great funny face.  The activity pdf below has a series of full color and colorable images that range from scary to super-silly.  Or create your own by outlining the top of the carton and designing away!

And since some egg cartons have holes in them,  we suggest taping the finished rattle up with clear packing tape so none of the small pieces can escape.

Then, all that’s left to do is make some scary noises with the rattle and have lots of Halloween fun!

egg carton rattlesLinks and Resources

Step-By-Step Instructions/Coloring Pages from TeachersPayTeachers
(.99 on TPT)
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/EGG-CARTON-QUIJADA-MUSICAL-RATTLE-1146672

What is a Quijada (Free on TPT)
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-is-a-Quijada-Jawbone-Instrument-1406336

World music crafts and coloring pages for kids from DARIA MUSIC
http://www.dariamusic.com/crafts.php

Watch a Real Quijada Be Played on Multicultural Kids Music Vid’s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wmJsBNIh24

Turn a Milk Jug Into a Recycled Shekere

recycled shekeres in classDo you know the three R’s? Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

How about the four “R’s”?   Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… and Rock Out! While you’re going greener and thinking about reducing or reusing plastic, here’s a fun way to turn large containers into child-size versions of African shekeres.

What’s a Shekere?

I wonder if shekeres were “original recycling projects”. Perhaps someone looked at dried gourds and decided they could be made into musical instruments. To do this, a netting of beads (called a skirt) was crafted around the gourd and small beads, seeds or shells were strung in the fiber to create the sound of the instrument. Most music historians believe the shekere began in West Africa but can now be found with variations in size, beadwork, shape and manner of playing throughout the African continent and around the world.

A Milk Jug Shekere

Since you probably have more plastic containers than cleaned and dried gourds, start by finding an empty milk jug, large water bottle or similar item from your recycling bin. Before you begin, make sure it fits nicely into your child’s hands.

Recycled shekere plus paper to beadBeading With Stickers or Markers

Doing intricate crafts like beading is great fun but takes practice and patience, plus motor skills that can be a difficult for small children. Here’s an easy alternative.

If your container is clear and clean, you can place stickers directly onto the plastic bottle or draw “beads” with markers, making colorful patterns or shapes. If there’s a label on the container, you can cut out a piece of poster board or construction paper to fit the container and lay the paper flat. This makes for easy “sticker beading” and a fun way to explore patterns, shapes and colors with your young child.

If you’re working with a classroom of kids or have a limited time to do this project, you can skip the aspect of trying to “bead” the shekere and allow the kids to simply decorate the outside of the container.

Sounding Good!

mini shekere for storeIn traditional shekeres, the sound comes from the beads or seeds rattling on the outside of the gourd. In our recycled version, we’ll need to add something inside the container to create the sound.   Here are some suggestions for a quieter recycled shekere: sand, salt, sugar, tiny pasta (like acini de pepi), seed beads, Q-tips and paper clips. Here are some fillings you can use to create a louder instrument: pebbles, dried pasta, dried beans, popcorn kernels, marbles or pennies.

Once you’ve filled your shekere and you like the sound it makes. Put the cap on and seal it into place with heavy duty tape to keep this project child-safe.

plastic shekereTime to Play

Although a shekere is a rattle, there’s a lot of different ways you can play it. Here are some playing suggestions:

Hold the handle and shake.

Hold both sides and rattle the contents back and forth.

Hold both sides and toss it gently while twisting it.

Hold it vertically and toss it gently from hand to hand.

Peru_Preschool_ShakureSit a short distance from a friend and toss it back and forth.

With a group of children, sit in a circle and toss it from child to child around the circle.

Try any of the above ideas while singing or while music is playing. Try to shake along to the beat.

Links and Resources

Hear A Shekere

http://www.dariamusic.com/shekere.php

Color a Shekere Online

http://www.dariamusic.com/color_Shekere.php

Bead an African Shekere

https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/bead-your-own-african-shekere/

2 recycled smilk jug shekeresMake a Classroom Shekere (From A Gourd)

http://tinytappingtoes.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/easy-gourd-shekere-for-a-child-or-a-classroom/

An Alphabet Shekere Game

http://www.trueaimeducation.com/2012/10/guest-post-learning-letters-with-an-alphabet-shekere.html

Sekere.com – Beaded Sekeres from Master Craftswoman, Sara Fabunmi

http://www.sekere.com

Cultural Value of the Shekere, Article By Sara Fabunmi

https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/the-cultural-value-of-the-sekere/

Outdoor Musical Play – Make Your Own Bullroarer!

bullroarers - plastic

You may not recognize the word “bullroarer”, but you probably recognize the sound it makes. Used by both Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians, this simple instrument spins around and produces a whirring sound that is truly unique.

Since it’s really hard to describe, take a minute to watch “Jungle Jay” demonstrate his homemade bullroarer here:

What Is A Bullroarer?

Made from a simple piece of wood attached to a string, the bullroarer is spun with one hand then swung around in a circle with the other. As it spins, a remarkable whirring, buzzing noise is produced that can be heard quite a distance away.

bullroarer - realIt’s easy to see how this was used originally to signal other people or to communicate in times before telephones or modern devices.

Make Your Own Version

This activity could not be easier. All you need are recycled water bottles of various sizes and sturdy string or twine. Start by tying the string around the neck of the plastic water bottle, securing it tightly with several sturdy knots.   If you like, add a stick to the other end of the twine or tie the string into a loop to make it easier to hold while spinning.  A good length for the string is about 3 feet, but feel free to adjust this length for the size and shape of any player.

Although this technically isn’t a bullroarer, your plastic bottles will make odd, eerie noises when swung around in a circle just like the authentic aboriginal instrument. One hint: pick plastic bottles with smaller openings as they seem to make the best sounds when used in this project.

Safety First

Although spinning a plastic water bottle is much safer than spinning a piece of wood, it helps to consider safety when playing this instrument. Anyone playing a bullroarer should be outside in an open area, away from people or things that things that could be hit accidentally.

How To Play A Plastic Bullroarer

Once you’re positioned safely away from any people or objects, simply hold the one end of the string and swing it around. Swing it either in a circle in front of you, to the side or over your head. As you vary the speed, the sound will shift both in volume and in tone. Play with your one plastic bottle or different bottles to find the type of sound you like the most.

A Bullroarer Orchestra

If playing with a group, you can position kids or people in different areas with plenty of space between them. For instance, if you’re on a playground, you can position kids within large chalk circles with ample distances between them. Participants can all play together or someone can call out names so each player can add their instrument or stop playing. This is a fun way of creating a sonic landscape, especially if different size and shape water bottles are used.

Be safe – and have fun!