Tag Archives: musical crafts

28 Kids Crafts To Reuse Plastic Straws

drying strawsAre you trying to use less plastic?

I meet more and more parents who are striving to use less packaging and plastic products.  And it’s really encouraging to even see big companies – like Starbucks and the entire Marriott hotel chain – phasing out plastic straws altogether!  But even if you are the most recycling-conscious family, you’ve probably ended up with some of those pesky plastic straws and wondered what to do with them.

Instead of tossing them into the waste stream, here are a host of great activities that reuse these not-so-disposable items and are fun and productive kid’s crafts as well.

Clean Your Straws

If you’ve ended up with straws from juice, smoothies or soft drinks you can easily clean them off before you craft with them.  Rinse them in soapy water and let them stand them in a jar or glass for a few minutes (as seen above).  In no time at all, they’ll be clean and ready to be used in any of the crafts below!

Straw Rattles Completed On YellowA Quiet Rattle

We love this craft!  It is fun to make, also reuses plastic bottles and creates a quiet rattle that is never too loud, even when playing with bunches of friends!  And if the straws you’ve used are colorful, they make wonderful patterns of colors as you shake them along to music.

What To Do

Cut the straws into small lengths, anything the size of a small bead to about an inch long.  Cut them all the same length or mix up the sizes.  And if you have straw pieces left, they are perfect for the sensory bins listed below or even the friendship bracelets!

To create the rattle, simply allow your child to drop any number of their favorite colors and sizes into the plastic bottle.  When it looks and sounds perfect to your little one, put on the cap and seal with a sturdy electrical tape.  This keeps the contents inside the rattle and makes the end-product child-safe.

Note: while creating any of these crafts, make sure the small pieces of straws don’t go in a child’s mouth.

More Musical Straw Crafts!

josef playing straw zamponasPanpipes Made From Straws
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/make-your-own-simple-panpipes/

Use straws as the contents to a “Roly Poly” Thing
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/make-a-roly-poly-musical-thing/

Use straws as the contents to an ocean drum
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/make-an-ocean-drum-for-world-oceans-day/

maracas - back to schoolUse straws as the contents to a set of maracas
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/an-easy-musical-craft-for-young-children-back-to-school-maracas/

Other Straw Crafts You’ll Love!

Sensory Bin With Straw Pieces – From Teaching Mama
https://teachingmama.org/plastic-straw-sensory-bin/

20 Assorted Drinking Straw Crafts For Kids- From Meraki Lane https://www.merakilane.com/20-drinking-straw-crafts-for-kids/

Simple Friendship Bracelets Made with Pipe cleaners and “Straw Beads” – From Kiwi Co – https://www.kiwico.com/diy/Arts-and-Crafts-Ideas/1/project/Straw-Bracelets/1169

More Crafty And Elegant Straw Bead Bracelets – Tutorial below and here’s hoping you reduce, reuse recycle and rock out with any of the crafts you’ve found here!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Are you Un Poco Loco about Disney’s Coco?

miguel and guitar

Have you fallen in love with Disney’s Coco?

This beautifully drawn and animated new movie follows a young boy whose desire to follow his heart and make music takes him all the way to the land of the dead – and back again.  No spoilers here but I can tell you that the movie will delight the youngest to the oldest members of your family.  And it definitely will leave you singing!

One of our favorite songs from the movie is called Un Poco Loco, meaning a little bit crazy. Although it’s not a traditional mariachi song – it’s a new song composed by Germaine Franco and Adrian Molina – it has the wonderful feel and sense of humor of classic songs from this style.

If you speak Spanish, you’ll probably laugh and giggled throughout the song that weaves back and forth through both languages. If you don’t, I’ve shared the lyrics as a cheat sheet with the English translations listed next to the Spanish words.

And, do you want to continue the musical fun after you’ve seen the movie and sung along with this song? Below are several additional activities you can do to learn more about the marvelous music and magic of Mexico!

Un Poco Loco (A Little Bit Crazy)

Miguel sings – What color’s the sky?

¡Ay, mi amor! ¡Ay, mi amor! (Oh! My love, oh my love)

You tell me that it’s red

¡Ay, mi amor! ¡Ay, mi amor! (Oh! My love, oh my love)

Where should I put my shoes
?

¡Ay, mi amor! ¡Ay, mi amor! (Oh! My love, oh my love)

You say, “put them on your head”

¡Ay, mi amor! ¡Ay, mi amor! (Oh! My love, oh my love)

You make me un poco loco (a little bit crazy)

Un poquititito loco (a little, little bit crazy)
poquititito loco (little, little bit crazy)

The way you keep me guessing, I’m nodding and I’m yessing

I’ll count it as a blessing
, That I’m only un poco loco!

 (a little bit crazy)

Héctor sings: 
The loco (crazy) that you make me

It is just un poco crazy (a little bit crazy)

The sense that you’re not making

Miguel sings:
The liberties that you’re taking

Miguel and Héctor sing: 
Leaves my cabeza (head) shaking

You are just un poco loco (a little bit crazy)

Un poquititi-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-to loco!
(A little, little, little, little, little, little, little bit crazy!)

Mariachi Guitar Coloring PageLinks And Resources

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

Day of the Dead “Color the Skulls” Banner Freebie!  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Dia-De-Los-Muertos-Color-The-Skulls-Banners-4094429

Make a Guiro - http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/easiest-instruments-for-young-children-the-guiro/

Three Music Crafts For 5 de Mayo - http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/3-great-music-crafts-for-cinco-de-mayo/

The Yaqui Gourd Water Drum From Ancient Mexico 

ghana gourd drumOne of my favorite instruments to bring around to schools is a water drum made from a gourd. Kids and adults are often shocked when I pour water into one of the gourds and float the other on top to create the drum.  Then they are amazing by the deep, resonant sound. But where did a unique and creative instrument like this come from?  Interestingly enough, gourd water drums are found in both African cultures and in the indigenous cultures that inhabit present day Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

yaqui water drumWe caught up with a talented musician from Los Angeles named Christopher Garcia who not only plays them, but has thoroughly researched their background and shares these traditional instruments with audiences around the world.

And, at the end of this post, you’ll find our DIY water drum craft. Although our plastic water drum doesn’t sound exactly like the real thing, it does produce great drum sounds and is a fun way to encourage sensory play with water and sound.

Christopher Garcia – Teaching About Indigenous Meso American Instruments

Before Spanish Conquistadors arrived in present day Mexico and the Southwestern US, indigenous cultures such as the Yaqui were flourishing with rich music and cultural lives. Many of these indigenous groups trace their history to the civilizations of the Mayan and Aztec peoples. Beautiful and unusual instruments used in their music include the water drum, singing stones, unique flutes and a marimba made of turtle shells. Christopher details many of these unique instruments at his website below, but here you can see him playing the gourd water drum and the gourd water drum plus the turtle shell marimba and singing stones.

Turtle Shells, Singing Stones And a Wooden Drum

Make Your Own Version Of A Gourd Water Drum

plastic water drum playingWe’ve done a whole post on taking various sized rounded plastic containers, floating them on the surface of the water and getting some of the same tones you’d hear on gourd water drums. You can get creative and try it yourself in a bucket, kiddie pool or basin of water, or check out that full post at the link below.

Links and Resources

Make A Gourd Water Drum from Plastic Containers
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/musical-water-play-a-myo-gourd-style-water-drum/

Christopher Garcia’s Indigenous Instruments of Mexico/Mesoamerica
http://indigenousinstrumentsof mexicomesoamerica.weebly.com/

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/

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/

Follow Me on TPT – And Get One Item Free!

TPT 475

Do you TPT?  There’s a wonderful online site called TeacherPayTeachers and it’s a great resource for anything educational. And you don’t have to be a teacher to benefit from the boatload of freebies plus activities, crafts, clipart, coloring pages, mini-lessons and so much more that you can find on this site.

My DARIA MUSIC store at TPT is filled with musical activities, crafts, E-books plus you can find all my songs and CD’s (as digital downloads) as well as lots of ways to incorporate music into your daily life.

And, did I mention the freebies? Every store owner is required to have at least one freebie so you can sample the quality of their work. But most of us – me included – are regularly adding freebies such as songs, lyric sheets seasonal activities. So, won’t you please drop by my store and follow me on TPT?

Follow Me!

It’s easy to follow any merchant on TPT! Just click on the greenish button under my name here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Daria-Music and you’re in.  When a new item, a fresh freebie or a special sale is coming, you’ll get a little notice, but no annoying spam or repetitive e-mails.

4 TPT itemsFollow Me and Get One Item Free.

To sweeten the deal, I’d love to give you one (digital) item free from my store.  Just stop by, follow me, browse the wares and choose your item.  Copy the title of the product and e-mail it to me at dariamusic at yahoo dot com and I’ll send you a special link to a free copy of that resource.  It’s as easy as that.

What Can You Get?

Grandchildrens Delight CoverIn my store, you can get a digital copy of any of my Parent’s Choice, NAPPA, or Kids Music Network Award-winning cd’s!  There’s music for Earth Day, multicultural holiday music and a cd of special songs from the Andes.  Or maybe you’d like a craft pdf – to learn how to make a Monkey Drum from China, or a relaxing ocean drum or a set of completely child-safe, recycled maracas. Pick any digital item that strikes your fancy and I’d love to hear from you.

Along with my thanks for connecting with me, on TPT!

Links and Resources

DARIA MUSIC Store on TPT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Daria-Music

HHM-coverDARIA’s music CD’s on TPT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Daria-Music/Category/Digital-Music-CD-s-169735

Daria’s E-books on TPT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Daria-Music/Category/E-Books-167392

DARIA’s Freebies on TPT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Daria-Music/Price-Range/Free

 

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

Make An Earth Day Nature Walk Rattle!

Earth Day Rattle Finished

Take a nature walk and make a musical instrument! Here’s an easy and fun way to recycle a plastic container and spend some quality time outside all at the same time!

Supplies

Clean plastic container (wide-mouthed plastic bottles work best)!

Small amount of sand (or salt or sugar)

Tape (to seal the rattle)

Find A Great Green Space

Can you connect with nature in your front or backyard? If so, head on out and enjoy. If not, there are always parks, play areas, nature sanctuaries and arboretums within a short distance from most homes. And even if you think you know your area, a quick internet search will probably turn up some new places to discover where you can have a picnic or snack, do a nature craft or simply enjoy the great outdoors!

Collect Your Treasures

Bring a small bucket or container to collect your treasures. As you walk, keep an eye out for interesting items such as acorns, nuts, leaves, seeds, seedpods or pinecones. You might come across a feather or small shells if walking by a lake or stream. You may find beautifully shaped rocks or pebbles or smooth sticks that you’d like to collect.

Earth Day Rattle ContentsIf you’re walking at a local park, there are often naturalists who can help you identify what you’ve found or tell you more about what you’ve just collected or discovered.

Make Your Rattle

Start each rattle by pouring in a small amount of sand (or salt or sugar). Then, carefully add each item you’ve chosen to the container. Although you can do this craft without the sand, it will add a soft whooshing sound and then each treasure you add to the bottle will appear and disappear into the sand as you shake the container.

Seal It Up!

Once you are finished, seal up your rattle with a sturdy tape, such as colorful duct tape or electrical tape. It adds a nice design element and keeps small hands from opening the lid and creating a safety hazard.

Play Along To Some Some Earth Day Music!

What does your rattle sound like? Is it soft or loud? Did a friend, sibling or parent make a rattle, too?  Do their rattles look and sound, alike or different?

You can explore all kinds of listening skills with these quiet rattles and they are perfect for paying along with your favorite music. If you’d like some green musical inspiration, play along to the Earth Day anthem on the video below or click the link below for a free download of “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands”.

Links and Resources

Free song download - “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Handshttp://www.dariamusic.com/earthday.php

14 World Music Instruments That Can Be Made From Recycled Materials https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/14-world-music-instruments-that-can-be-made-from-recycled-materials/

Bongos For Babies – And Big Kids, Too!

One of the easiest drums for anyone to play are bongo drums.  With roots in Afro-Cuban culture, this smaller set of hand drums is just the right size and shape to invite a child to sit down and tap and play away.

A Bit About The Bongos

Bongo drums are a great instrument for exploring rhythms and beats as well as Latin American culture with children. Originating in Cuba, there’s one larger drum, about 7 inches in diameter and one smaller drum, about 5 inches across.   In Cuba, the bongo player is called a bongocero.

bongos in the grassMake Your Own Bongo Drums

It’s easy to make a set of simple working bongo drum at home. All you need are a few basic materials starting with two round containers of different sizes. Coffee cans, oatmeal and corn meal containers work well for this project. Then you’ll need creative materials to decorate the two drums. Look for construction paper, stickers, colorful tape, markers or glitter and glue. Last, you’ll need sturdy tape – like electrical tape or duct tape – to attach the drums together.

Decorate The Drums

bongo suplpliesStart by decorating the two drums. If you’re working with construction paper, cut out a cover for each drum and allow your child to design their drum on a flat surface. Then, tape the cover into place around each drum. If not, feel free to allow the child to decorate the rounded surface of the drum. Stickers and colorful tape, work well for this type of approach.

Once you’ve completed the decoration process, use the electrical tape or duct tape and secure the drums together. Wrap the tape around both drums several times.

Now, you’re ready to play!

How Are Bongo Drums Held?

playing bongosTraditionally bongo drums are held between your legs, with the smaller drum to your left. However, if you’re playing with a child, feel free to place the bongos where it’s easiest for them to reach. This might be front of them on the floor or on their lap as they sit cross-legged.

Tapping Out A Beat

As always, I encourage the parent, caregiver or teacher to make a set of drums themselves and learn alongside their child. Here are some tips on basic techniques for beginner bongoceros, young and older!

Start by tapping the larger drum with your hands, using the upper part your palms (toward the base of your fingers). Tap the center, then other areas on the drum head and notice the difference in the sound. Do the same with the smaller head. Play back and forth between the larger and smaller head.

Next, try tapping the large head with one or more fingertips and you’ll hear a quieter sound. Try the same on the smaller head. Now you can mix and match the sounds you’ve just discovered and form them into patterns. Start simple and find patterns you enjoy or put on Latin American music and try to match the patterns from the song. You can also create new rhythm patterns that fit with the music you hear as well.

Once you’ve made your homemade bongos, feel free to use your new drums to “just jam” or to learn and play some of the great beats from Afro-Cuban and Latin American folk traditions. Here’s a basic bongo drum pattern called “el martillo” that almost anyone can learn with just a bit of practice.


Resources And Links

Bongo Craft PDF from TeachersPayteachers

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

10 Music Crafts For Exploring Hispanic Heritage

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Celebrate-Hispanic-Heritage-Musical-Craft-And-Coloring-E-Book-1427919

Hear, Color Or Play a Guiro

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

Free Musical Crafts and Coloring Pages From All Over the World – From DARIA MUSIC

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

Go Ahead, Play With The Box – A Little Box Instrument From Peru

cajita on grass (homemade)It’s almost a cliche. A child is given a special present and they prefer to play with the box!

But, did you know that in Peru, there are two different types of boxes that are actually used as instruments?  We’ve already shared a post about a cajón, a box drum from Afro-Peruvian culture that you can make at home (link below). Now we’d like to show you another box instrument called the cajita. Making and playing a cajita is a wonderful way to develop motor skills, explore rhythms, discover new music and just plain have fun!

WHAT IS A CAJITA?

The cajita is a small, hexagonal box that comes from Afro-Peruvian culture. Originally, it was used to collect donations in Catholic churches. The altar boys wore the donation box around their necks as they collected the offerings. Then; after they removed the money intended for the church, they used the box as a percussion instrument.

josef plays cajitaHow did they make music with a cajita? They opened and closed the lid for one sound. They took a small stick and tapped the sides and top, for another sound. They opened the lid and “stirred” the inside for still another type of percussion. And then they mixed all those different sounds together.

Since it might be a bit hard to imagine, here’s a short video with two cajitas and one cajón (box drum) that will demonstrate what it looks and sounds like.

MAKING A HOMEMADE CAJITA

Making a wooden box cajita requires special materials as well as woodworking tools and skills.  A bit easier to create is a cigar box cajita which is sturdy enough to be played like the real thing, but can be made from some basic materials and supplies found around almost any home.

Here’s what you need to create a cigar box cajita.

SUPPLIES

Cigar box
Small knob and matching screw (knobs from kitchen cabinets or small dressers work perfectly)
Hammer and nail or awl tool (to make a hole for the knob to be inserted in lid)
Two dowels or sticks – about 8” in length
Materials for decorating such as paint, construction paper, stickers, glitter and glue

DECORATE A HOMEMADE CAJITA

homemade cajita (inside)If you’d like to decorate your cajita, begin this project by personalizing the cigar box. You can paint it, decoupage it, add stickers, construction paper or glitter and glue to make it unique. Since you’ll be opening and closing the lid, you may want to decorate the inside as well as the outside.

Next, add the knob so you can easily lift the cajita’s lid up and down. To do this, the adult can help with the process of hammering a small nail or using an awl to pierce a hole in the lid of the box. Position that hole in the exact center of the box, about an inch or so away from the edge of the lid that opens up. Once the hole is created, it’s easy to insert the knob in the top of the box and use the screw to tighten it into place. Now you should be able to open and close the lid of the box easily.

Finally, cut two wooden dowels. One will weigh down your box so you can play your instrument without the cajita bouncing up and down.  The other will be the playing stick that you use to tap and play your instrument. If possible, cut the first dowel to a length just a bit short of the inner width of the box.  Glue the dowel in place in the inner front of the box and leave it to dry. In the meantime, cut and decorate your second dowel. This one can be any length that is comfortable to hold in your hand while playing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATIME TO JAM

Now the musical fun begins. If you’ve watched the video above and are ready to dive right in, then skip this section. If you prefer some playing tips, here are some good suggestions to get you started.

Get to know your cajita by tapping the sides and the front and making a rhythm pattern. Notice how each sound is a bit different. Try something like “front, front, side. Front, front side.” Try a similar pattern with the sides and the top. Later, add the sound of the lid opening and closing. Since this can sometimes feel like “rubbing your stomach and patting your head”, it’s best to start with simpler patterns and then work up to more complicated ones. If working with younger children, it can be good to let them explore the instrument before trying to play specific patterns.

You can also put on any type of music and allow your child to create a beat that goes along with it.

A CAJITA JAM AS A GROUP

After getting the hang of creating rhythms with a cajita, you can play as a group, with several cajitas or with different instruments playing together as well. This can be a fun way of building rhythm in a classroom or a homeschool setting because each child or person hears how their musical part plays an important role in the overall beat.

An easy way to start a jam is to have one person – like the cajita player – play a very simple pattern such as opening and closing the lid. The next person adds another sound, the third and forth, add their own simple parts. If you check out this jam, you’ll see how the rhythm starts on one instrument (a quijada jawbone), the cajita is added next and finally, a large cajón (or box drum) joins in.

Links and Resources

What Us A Cajita? https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-Is-A-Cajita-Latin-American-Percussion-Instrument-1388694

Make Your Own Cajón Box Drum – Free From TeachersPayTeachers

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Cajon-Make-And-Play-Your-Own-Box-Drum-1236616