Music 1: Mini Bongo Drums
Celebrate National Drum Month in November by using a couple of recycled yogurt cups and making a groovy set of bongos! This simple project encourages musical skills and uses eco-friendly magic to turn trash into treasure, teaching kids the fun in saving those empty containers for a good cause.
- Have your child cover the top of both yogurt containers with pieces of tape by taping them over the opening, and layering them on top of each other so there are no gaps.
- Now your child can paint the exterior of the cups his favorite color, with a fun design.
- Once the paint dries, cut a length of string about two feet long and wrap it around the cups in a figure eight to secure the bongos together with a tight knot. You may need to help your child with this step. Now you’re ready to jam!
Discuss: Make them draw other rhythm instruments that they have seen.
Quiz: What happens when the tape becomes loose?
Music 2: Chinese Hand Drum
- Start with a little research: The Chinese hand drum, also called a rattle drum, originated in ancient China around 475-221 B.C. During the Song Dynasty (960-1276) the drum became a popular children’s toy, as it is today in modern China. Two small balls attached to the sides beat the hollow drum. Its surface is sometimes painted.
- Give your child the round object for the drum. Help him cut two construction paper circles to match the drum’s two side surfaces.
- Your child can glue a circle to each drum side.
- After the glue has dried, use scissors to help your child poke a hole in the bottom of the drum, where a chopstick can be inserted as the drum’s holder.
- Let your child cut strips of colorful duct tape to put around the drum’s edges. Tape will hold the plastic or cardboard lid onto the drum base, and also go around the chopstick to keep it attached.
- Cut the string in half. Put a 10-inch string through a bead or bell. Fold the string in half (now 5 inches) and tie a knot. Have your child insert the knot and string ends under the side duct tape of the drum. Add more duct tape to attach the string.
- Repeat step #6 for the other 10 inches of string and bead or bell on the drum’s other side.
- Let your child use markers to draw Chinese designs (e.g. flowers, a dragon, tiger, panda or birds) on the drum’s surface if he desires.
Discuss: Make different rhythms using this toy. Make a time chart so that someone who has not heard this rhythm can play it.
Quiz: Write down the names of the following Indian percussion instruments.
Music 3: Simple Drums
All around the world, drums are used to create music, send messages, and accompany rituals. It is relatively simple to learn basic drumming techniques, and it produces a great sense of rhythm in the musician. Get your child in on the action! With a little bit of assistance, your little one can make drums of all different shapes and sizes that produce a variety of sounds. The best part is: All you need are just a few household objects and art supplies!
- Take a tour of the recycling bin and ask your child to choose bases for her drums. She should remove any slick labels from the containers, and give them a rinse if necessary. Your child might opt to place some dried beans or peas inside the container to add a maraca effect.
- Help your child select and size covers for the tops of the drums. If you do not have anything made of thicker plastic, help her weave pieces of electrical tape across the opening of the container. Add a second layer to make it more resilient. If you are using thick plastic, stretch it taut over the opening and attach it with packing tape. You can add thick rubber bands to make the top more secure.
- Have your child decorate her drums. Paper or fabric can cover the canister, with some yarn around any areas where packing tape shows through. Your child may want to paint geometric or animal motifs on her drums to emulate designs on traditional drums. Encourage her to add interesting decorations and trim with cut-out shapes, feathers, beads, stamps, or stencils.
You can extend this activity by helping your child compose drum chants. Encourage her to recite rhymes, songs, and poetry while beating drums, or use the drums to accompany a storytelling session or dance performance.
Discuss: Discuss rhythm. What is Taal? Different types of taal?
Quiz: Create a language using drum beats.