Tag Archives: nature 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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Take A Nature Walk/Make a Recycled Rattle!

Nature RattleLooking for some fun activities for April to celebrate Earth Day?  This project combines getting outdoors, exploring nature and having some musical fun at the same time.  Here’s what you need for this eco-friendly project that is just as easy and as much fun as a walk in the park!

Any see-through recycled container, preferably with a large “mouth” opening

Curious kids

Backyard, park, beach or other great natural place to walk

Sturdy tape (like electrical tape) for sealing the instrument when completed

Rattles made from gourds, seeds, feathers and a donkey’s jawbone

ALL ABOUT RATTLES

Rattles are one of the simplest instruments to play and can be found around the world.  They appear in different forms and are made of some really diverse materials. Take a look at some of the examples here.  They can be made from dried gourds, seashells, clay, bark, coconuts, and a variety of other natural materials. Caixixi (pronounced “ka-she-she”) rattles from Africa are made from woven fiber.  In India, there are rattles made from colored palm fronds woven together in clever patterns – as beautiful to see as they are to hear.  On the coast area of Peru,

there’s rattle made from the jawbone of a donkey with the loose  teeth making the vibrating sound.  In short, people generally make instruments from materials that they have found in abundance near their home.  We are going to take that same approach in creating recycled “nature walk” rattles!

MAKE YOUR OWN RATTLE

Since most families probably don’t have coconuts in their front yard or gourds or palm leaves drying in their ceiling rafters  – we’ll opt for materials that can be found in most homes – recycled containers.  Start with a clean, clear, see-through container with a lid and you are ready to go!

While walking in your backyard or the park, look for items that might make a wonderful sound when placed inside your recycled container and shaken. You can stop by your bird feeder for a handful of sunflower seeds, look for pebbles, acorns or small twigs.  Are there any small pine cones, dried berries or other seeds from plants you find?  If you are passing by a stream, you’ll find smooth pebbles that the water has polished for you.  By the shores of a pond or lake, you might find driftwood, shells from small fresh water clams or unoccupied snail shells. If you’re lucky, you might find a colorful feather or a unique rock to add, making your rattle truly special for you!

Did you find something you don’t recognize?  If you’re in a larger park or have one nearby, stop and talk to the naturalist or some of the park rangers, staffers or volunteers on duty.  They can often help you identify nuts, seeds, plants or other items found on your walk making this trip an educational exploration as well.

Two recycled rattles with birdseed, craft materials and beads.

Two recycled rattles with birdseed, craft materials and beads.

When you’ve finished adding items to your rattle, seal it with some sturdy tape, such as electrical tape.  This helps keep the contents inside and generally makes it a safer activity for younger children. Then what?  Then, it’s time to have fun!  Play your rattle along with your favorite music.  It will fit in with any music from slow and quiet to happy and upbeat – even wild and crazy tunes.

I particularly like to play my recycled rattle with music about the Earth or nature.  Some of my favorite songs are below such as “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands” and “Wild And Free”, about caring for dolphins, whales, manatees and creatures that live on the land as well.  But my rattle has a particular favorite song that makes it dance with joy.  It’s called:  “Be Kind To Your Web Footed Friends”.  Why?

Look closely and you’ll see that this rattle has a small mallard duck feather in it!