This article is from our January 2009 issue of the JumpStart Times newsletter, also available here at JumpStart.com!
From the walls to the halls, harmonies will fill your home as your kids band together to create a sweet symphony of homemade sounds. Follow these simple steps to build instruments that will have your hallways sounding better than Carnegie Hall.
Balloon Jar Drums– March to the beat of your own drum by creating drums of all different sizes out of empty coffee cans, plastic ice cream pails, oatmeal boxes, and empty canned goods. Make the drum even more realistic by stretching a deflated balloon across the open end of the can or pail. Secure the balloon drum top with a rubber band. Chopsticks or unsharpened pencils make perfect drum sticks. Of course, drums always sound better with decorations! Kids can decorate the drums as they wish with paper, paint, markers, or crayons.
Water Bottle Maraca Shakers– Give recycling a whole new meaning when you reuse plastic water bottles to make music. Simply fill an empty water bottle with uncooked rice, pasta, or beans. The more you fill the bottle, the less noise your instrument will make. When the filling process is complete, secure the cap and get ready to be all shook up! Shake those stanzas and staccatos with your new homemade maraca shaker. Spice up your melodic maraca by covering it in colorful paper or coloring the outside of the bottle.
Paper Plate Tambourine– Achieve perfect pitch with a couple of paper plates! Two paper plates placed rim to rim creates a perfect tambourine shell. Between the plates, insert any type of metal hardware that will make a beautiful clinging sound (we used jingle bells and metal washers). Simply tape or staple the plate rims together and voila, you have a tambourine that will set a rockin’ rhythm for your band. Again, adding color and flair to the paper plate tambourine will definitely add to the sounds.
Pasta Box Guitar– Strum away the hours with a spare spaghetti, shell or spiral noodle box! Start with a pasta container that has a small see-through window on the front. Gently push the plastic window out and discard. Next, close the box top with tape. Select 3-4 rubber bands of different widths and pull them lengthwise across the box so that they pass over the window. Slide a small folded piece of cardboard under the rubber bands and just above the window so that the rubber bands are raised slightly above the surface of the box. With that, you are ready to pluck along to just about any tune!
Paper Towel Rain Stick– Enjoy the sounds of a storm, without the need for an umbrella or galoshes! To get started, grab an empty paper towel roll and approximately 20 nails or tacks. Push the nails through the paper towel roll in a spiral pattern (parents, please handle this part of the project). Next, secure a piece of paper over one end of the tube and pour in approximately 1.5 cups of dry rice. Secure a piece of paper over the empty end, then cover the entire tube with a layer of masking tape to ensure the nails won’t fall out. Let the kids decorate, then tip your rain stick slowly to enjoy the sound of cascading droplets.
Paper Towel Kazoo– You’ll be tooting along to tunes in no time with this simple kazoo recipe. Secure a square of wax paper over the end of a paper towel roll with a rubber band. Poke 2-3 small holes with a pen in the wax paper to allow the air to move through. Decorate to your heart’s content, then place your lips near the open end of the tube and hum. A warning – the funny buzzing sound might leave you laughing too hard to sing along with the band!
Gather up the family and shake, toot, strum and tap your way along to just about any melody. For added fun, try jamming along to our favorite JumpStart harmony about a stinky rhino!
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