3 easy-to-make instruments (from items in your home!)

Version 2

If you missed the book reading my dear friend Jan did this past weekend, we’d like to recap the magic of what happened here, and we hope you and your kids can join us for the next!

The children’s area of the Barnes & Noble in Encinitas was a perfect setting for a reading from Reading Is Fun! Imagine That! complete with a forest-themed mural as the backdrop, books piled high on shelves, racks of puppets, and cloud-painted walls. The atmosphere alone helped create a world of fantasy and make-believe. And then Jan threw on her cheetah hat and the place transformed into a delightful place of imagination.

Jan got the children’s creative wheels turning by asking them a question designed to entice silliness and serious thought, all at once.

“What is the most creative way you can think of to drink milk?” she asked.

The kids grew quiet, their thinking caps fully intact.

“You could just lay upside down under a cow and drink from its udder!” one boy said, and the crowd laughed.

“You could drink pea milk,” said another boy, and his mom poked her head around the end cap of a nearby bookshelf and clarified the spelling of “pea” (not “pee” which, of course, the other kids assumed he meant and burst into laughter.)

Some took a practical approach with suggestions like drinking milk with noodle straws, while others thought it would be fun to sip milk inside of a maze or gulp rainbow-colored milk while sliding down a slide.

The answers were all as different and unique as the children sitting before Jan.

Once laughter and the sharing of ideas made the kids feel comfortable with one another, Jan read the story-poem titled “The Music Makers,” which talks about turning common, everyday items from home into musical instruments.

She began…

“Since instruments can cost a lot, let’s find another way,

We’ll use some well-made makeshift ones, that some of us can play.

 I talked with several friends of mine, and said to make or find,

Some different kinds of ‘instruments,’ to play when they’re combined.

 We’d like to form an orchestra, and test the sounds we make,

No instrument can cost a thing, and when they’re played, won’t break.”

The children’s eyes were big. They wondered what instruments they were going to get to play after she excitedly announced that she brought an instrument for all of them to play, and then take home!

There was a tissue-wrapped hair comb “kazoo,” a Tupperware “guitar” wrapped with rubber bands, a “shaker” made from Legos in a Tupperware container, and “cymbals” made from two plastic bowls.

Moms and parents raised their hands to receive their instruments, and after some rehearsal time of playing and singing “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” the group happily paraded around the children’s section of the store. They were filled with smiles and giggles as their marching orchestra drew in the curiosity of other children venturing into the children’s area.

Every book reading is this much fun…we hope you’ll join us for the next!

You can construct these clever instruments at home with your kids, as well as the ones below from the “Music Makers” story-poem in Reading Is Fun! Imagine That! (Just be sure to get Mom or Dad’s permission first.) 

  • Fill glasses with varying amounts of water, and tap them gently with a spoon to create different tones. Once you have adjusted the amounts of water to completed eight different tones (low C, D, E, F, G, A, B, high C— the musical notes in a scale, you are ready to make your music. Eventually, if you are really into this, you can add more glasses to make flat and sharp notes for each key. A way to tune this “instrument” is to use a guitar tuner.
  • Gather assorted pots and arrange them carefully on the floor. Grab some wooden chopsticks to beat the rhythms on your “drums.”
  • Fill Tupperware containers each with different items to make percussion instruments. Try: marbles, dried beans, macaroni, bells, etc.

Use your own creativity to invent your instruments, but make sure they’re safe, and most of all do these concerts with your friends and family!!!







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