Tag Archives: kids music crafts

Make Your Own Egyptian Sistrum And Join The MENA Blog Hop!

sistrum color image

We’re proud to be part of the Middle Eastern North Africa blog hop. Naturally we have a post about music, but make sure you check out all the other related posts (listed below) to learn more about this beautiful and culturally rich part of the world.

Crafting is a great hands-on way for kids to learn about world cultures, so our post shows you how to make a sistrum, a unique rattle that was used in the courts of the Pharoahs of ancient Egypt.

What is a Sistrum?

You can see images of sistrums in hieroglyphics found in the pyramids. A bit of study of the courts of the Pharoahs reveals that the sistrum was played mainly by women or priestesses and that it was played by moving it back and forth from side to side so that the metal bangles create a unique sound and distinctive rhythms.  It was often part of ceremonial or the sacred/religious music of the time.

sistrums - sticksMake Your Own Sistrum From a Tree Branch

If you take a walk in a wooded area, it’s easy to find a tree branch that is shaped like the letter “Y”. You can use the branch “as is” or cut and sand it down, if you like.

Next, you’ll need a bit of floral wire or craft wire. Wrap it around one side of the Y, then add whatever bangles you may have. Below we have a post showing how to safely make bangles from bottlecaps, which is a fun recycling project. Instead – or in addition to bangles – you can also use things like beads, making sistrums peace valleyjingle bells or bits of jewelry to add to the bling of your sistrum. Be as creative as you like!

Playing A Sistrum

Although the traditional way to play a sistrum is to move it back and forth only, it’s a rattle so feel free to use it as a percussion instrument any way you like.

Links and Resources

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

Make Your Own Bangles From Bottlecaps Post – http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/ecologynature/how-to-make-bottle-cap-bangles-for-recycled-musical-instruments/
Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to the third annual Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month series from Multicultural Kid Blogs! Follow along all month long for great resources on teaching children about the heritage of this region, and link up your own posts below. Don’t miss our series from last year and from 2015!

You can also find even more resources on our North Africa and the Middle East Pinterest board:

 


August 4 Sand In My Toes on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About the United Arab Emirates
August 8 A Crafty Arab: Jordan Craft Stick Flag Tutorial
August 15 Sand In My Toes: Wind Tower Craft (UAE)
August 17 All Done Monkey: MENA Countries Worksheets
August 18 Tiny Tapping Toes
August 21 Biracial Bookworms on Multicultural Kid Blogs
August 23 Jeddah Mom
August 28 Crafty Moms Share
August 30 Creative World of Varya

 

Link Up Your Posts!


 

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Make Your Own New Year’s Eve Noise-Makers!

big-bottle-shaker-recycled-rattleMany new parents – or tired parents – opt to stay home on New Year’s Eve and ring in the New Year with the kids! Even if you won’t stay up until midnight – you definitely need some fun noise-makers to mark the coming of a new year!

Here is a new New Year’s Eve project – big bottle shakers – as well as a list of favorite noise-making crafts from the past few years. Monkey drums and vuvuzelas, anyone?

Oh yes, and a very happy new year to all!

Big Bottle Shakers For New Year’s Eve!

sticker-shekere-pictureKids like to make lots of noise and these big rattles are perfect for safe and easy noise-makers. Start with a large recycled bottle (with a lid or cap) that’s clean and dry. Gallon milk jug containers and liter soft drink bottles work well for this craft.

Step One is to fill with whatever you have on hand. For louder rattles, add items like extra jingle bells, buttons, pebbles, dried macaroni or paper clips. For quieter rattles, add things like birdseed, sand, salt or sugar. Before you close the cap and seal the rattle, consider adding a bit of bling. Maybe some glitter that you have on-hand or some MYO confetti? (BTW, Our next post is MYO confetti – it’s messy but super simple!).

Step Two. Once you’ve filled your bottle with things that jingle and jangle, close the lid and seal with a sturdy tape, such as colorful electrical tape. This keeps the contents inside and makes the project more child safe.

screen-shot-2016-03-28-at-3-09-55-pmLastly; if you like, you can decorate the outside. You can add stickers, colorful tape or draw with permanent markers. You can also adorn the handle with streams of ribbon or yarn. This is a great way to recycle extra holiday wrapping and put it to a good use!

What else can you make? Check out these favorite posts from New Year’s Eves past.

New Year’s Eve Noise-Makers With Wrapping Paper Rolls http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/noisemakers-new-years-eve-craft/

bolang-gu-craft-versionBolang Gu – A 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

kyra-plays-a-vuvuEverything But The Kitchen Sink Rattles  http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/new-years-eve-noisemakers-recycled-rattles/

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!

Playing Music… And Learning Shapes!

washboard and tambourineHave you ever noticed that many simple musical instruments are also perfect for teaching shapes?

This week, while doing a preschool program, one of the quieter young boys became very excited about naming the shapes of the instruments we were making and playing.  He noticed the washboard he loved to play was in the shape of a rectangle.  And his sister had a tambourine that was shaped like the moon!  The other kids enjoyed the idea and pretty soon, we had gone through an entire basket of instruments finding all types of shapes in all kinds of different ways.

circle instrumentsFor instance, how many circles can you find in the instruments to the right?  We counted 12!

And what shapes are here in the tambourines and triangle below?

What a fun way to combine music and some of the basic skills that will help a child excel in school or in their homeschool learning.

triangle instrumentsDon’t have a basket of instruments around your home?

No worries, here are some simple musical crafts that will have you not only putting a circle in the square – but playing one, too!

 

SQUARES AND RECTANGLES

Make a Cajón Box Drum
Free from DARIA’s website
http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/MYO%20Cajon.pdf
Free from TPT
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Cajon-Make-And-Play-Your-Own-Box-Drum-1236616

Square Ocean Drum http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/Ocean%20Drum%20Instructions.pdf

CIRCLE

Bongo Drums
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-And-Play-Your-Own-Bongo-Drums-1430615

click-and-clack-the-castanetsButton Castanets
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Button-Castanets-1439711

Chinese Gong
http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/chinesegong.pdf
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

Triangle

wooden sistrumEgyptian Rattle  http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/naturalsistrum.pdf

Explore More

Can you think of more simple shapes that are found in instruments? Let us know and we’ll feature them here!

Find lots more DIY/MYO Crafts on Daria’s website craft and activity page:
http://www.dariamusic.com/crafts.php

Or her TeachersPayTeachers Store:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Daria-Marmaluk-Hajioannou

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/

Easy Gourd Shekere For A Child – Or A Classroom

Peru_Preschool_Shakure

A shekere is a wonderful, versatile instrument from Africa.  Made from dried gourds of various sizes, the instrument has a netting over its rounded area that is beaded or woven with shells, seeds, nuts or other objects that rattle.  Since making the knots for the netting can be hard for smaller hands, we’re sharing a simplified version perfect for making with a child, a group of siblings or a classroom of kids.

Start With A Gourd

Shekeres are made from dried birdhouse gourds.  After they are harvested and stored for about a year in a dry location, they become sturdy and have a hardened outer shell.  As the gourds dry, the shell may not look perfect so some craftspeople sand the shell, bleach the shell or even paint and decorate it to make it more appealing before they begin the beading process.  You can try any of those approaches as well or use them “au natural”.

white gourd + necklace - shekere being madeMake A Gourd Necklace

The formal beadwork on a shekere is called a skirt.  For this project, our gourds will only have a necklace instead of a full “skirt”.

Take a piece of string, twine or embroidery thread and twist it around the top of the gourd, marking where it will overlap.  Measure it tight enough to stay on the gourd, but loose enough to rattle.  Don’t tie the string but instead lay it flat on a work surface.  It can be helpful to tape it into place.  Looking at the length of the string, you can get a good idea of how many strands of beads you can create to put onto it.

little gourd shekereJingles, Jangles and Bangles

Collect your bangles!  Look for any type of beads, buttons, jingle bells or similar objects you can use to create the sound of your instrument.  Here are some ideas for making several different types of creative shekeres.

Parent/Child Shekere

Parent and child create strands of noise-makers and they are strung alternately on the gourd.

Sibling – Friendship Shekere

Sister and brothers or friends create strands of noise-makers and they are strung on the gourd.

Classroom or Group Shekere

Each student or participant makes one string of noise-makers to add to the classroom instrument.

After you’ve finished creating your strands, add them to the necklace and tie it into place on the gourd.

mini shekere for storePlaying A Simple Shekere

Although these easy shekeres may not seem as versatile as their bigger cousins, you can hold them from the top and create several different types of rhythms. And if dried gourds are not readily available in your area, we’re also sharing a link below for making a recycled version out of plastic milk jugs.

Experiment with what you’ve created and have a blast!

shekere iconShekere Resources And Links

Hear A Shekere

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

Color A Shekere Online

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

Make Your Own Shekere From Plastic Milk Jugs

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

alphabet shekere 2Use A Shekere To Learn The Alphabet!

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

Shekere Kits And Step-By-Step Tutorial Available from DARIA’s Little Village store

http://dariasvillagestore.storenvy.com/