Having fun with musical toys and homemade instruments for kids is today’s play-of-the-day. Did you see the Google doodle for the theremin, a musical instrument played with hands but without touching? It inspired Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones and these ideas too.Kids enjoy making noise, er music, and will use ordinary items they find around the house. It could be a paper towel tube to be a horn or a wooden spoon that bangs on a saucepan lid. Very young kids are discovering how they can make different sounds; older ones may be interested in creating a beat or rhythm. They may sing along, even if they don’t have any words.
As kids play, they are coming up with their own form of music. Besides everyday items, kids may have musical toys. A xylophone is very common and some relative will give a present of a drum. The recycling basket could have some things for homemade instruments. Elastics on a cereal or tissue box make a sort of guitar. Empty coffee tins with plastic lids are useful as drums. Chopsticks can become drumsticks. Small objects, like beans or plastic spoons, turn tins or plastic containers into shakers.
Young children will think of their own ways to play with musical toys or instruments, real or homemade. Big Sister set out all these dolls and stuffies to be the audience for her music. We can extend their play with questions like, “How would you play something fast? Or, “What does it sound like when you play slow?” Turn on some music and invite your child to play at the same time.
The theremin almost seems magical when seen in videos, as if the music comes from the hands. But really, an instrument by itself doesn’t make music either. The sound does comes from the hands—and the imagination. Are there some musical toys and homemade instruments for your child’s play?
As a parent would you like your child to play a musical instrument but think this is limited to lessons? Kids can have fun with musical instruments at home. No matter if lessons are part of the future for a child, there are simple activities that you can do with your child that will help your child’s overall development. Best of all, these can be done as play!
All children like to make noise and will use anything they find like pans and a spoon, a stick on a fence, a paper towel roll and their voice, or anything else. This is the beginning of discovering that they are capable of using ‘instruments’ to create sound. Thru their play, they discover ways to combine what they do and ‘compose’ their own music.
As parents and caregivers we can supply a variety of materials for kids to use. Homemade instruments are easy to make with recycled materials. Drums can be created with tins, boxes, and pails and chopsticks. Humming into paper tubes make a simple sort of kazoo.
By pulling a little bit on elastic bands stretched across the opening of a tissue or other box, kids can pretend they are playing a guitar. They discover that elastic bands of varying widths do not make the same sound. Find or make a lid for a tin or plastic container. A few beans or other small objects safely tucked inside are great shakers.
Kids can also play and have fun with real instruments. Pianos are not as common in homes as they used to be, but there are ones that are much smaller. Ukuleles are easier to hold than guitars, unless they are air ones or one filled with air.
Whether or not kids take lessons, all children can have fun and play with making music. Can this be part of the day’s activities for your child?
New Year’s Eve is children’s idea of great fun; just imagine being able to use all different kinds of noise makers and it’s okay to be enthusiastic! For adults though, it’s better if kids make all those sounds way early in the evening.
Before getting into ideas for homemade music makers, here’s some reasons why they encourage kindergarten readiness and early learning.
–Shaking, tapping, drumming, clapping, tootling, and other actions are ways that kids can explore and play with both noise and rhythm. Did you know that rhythm is important for brain development? The brain connections and pathways formed through rhythmic activities help the brain prepare for learning language.
–The ear has to learn to listen to all different kinds of sounds, especially because words can sound almost the same. For example, mat and mitt are very close, but putting shoes on a mat is okay while putting them on a mitt is not.
–Making music together is one way of belonging to a group. Not every neighborhood or community will be celebrating with music and noise tonight but some will.
What are some easy homemade instruments or noise makers?
- Wrap some elastic bands around a tissue box, shoe box, or sandwich container.
- Dried beans in an empty tin with a lid make a great shaker.
- Two aluminum pie plates or two paper plates with plastic spoons and forks or something else rattly are a sort of tambourine.
- Cover the end of a cardboard tube with waxed paper. Wrap an elastic band around it, hold tightly to the face and blow-hum for a kazoo. Grownups need to poke a hole in the tube with something pointy. See the video below for a how-to.
For any of these, kids can decorate with stickers, coloring, drawing, and covering with paper. How will your family celebrate New Year’s Eve?
Music and rhythm activities stimulate all kinds of brain connections and that helps develop readiness for kindergarten. New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to make noise…er, I mean music…to make music and explore different rhythms. The kitchen has lots of treasures for creating instruments. Little ones like things they can shake or drum. A wooden spoon banging on … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – New Year’s Eve Rhythm (& noise)
On the weekend at a regional Baby Fair, the award-winning children’s band The Kerplunks performed to an appreciative audience of little kids and big ones, from very new baby bumps all the way to accompanying grandparents. Since my book table was right across from the main stage I got to hear them all 4 times. … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpacks and Kerplunks
Today is New Year’s Eve. Even if some members of the family are going to bed before midnight–around here that’s usually me and somebody has to wake me up for midnight!–here are some ideas for homemade noise…er, I mean, music makers. Music and rhythm develop children’s brains for lots of later skills. Music isn’t just for … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – New Year’s Eve
I love a parade-even in the rain. So do kids. A great activity for any day is to have a parade at home. Find some dress up clothes, some batons or instruments and march all around the yard or the house. Two disposable pie plates make cymbals by taping some spools to their centers. Plastic … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Parades