Jingle Bell Geoboard
We thought it would be fun to welcome spring by turning our yard into a musical forest! The jingle bell geoboard is the first instrument we made. All you have to do is tie bells to rubber bands with string and let your kids explore with the materials. The boys started stretching the rubber bands over the nails as usual and then loved plucking the rubber bands to make the jingle sound. Sonny started making his own songs and singing along!
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This is my favorite instrument we made! We went searching around our yard for sticks large enough to be walking sticks for the boys. Sonny helped me wrap thin colorful yarn around the sticks. We wrapped the yarn down the stick and then wrapped it back to the top and tied the ends together.
Then we threaded buttons and bells on a new piece of yarn and wrapped it around the stick just like the other piece of yarn. We brought the musical sticks outside and the boys loved running around and shaking them! They also make for the perfect bonfire companion.
We had so much fun with our musical sticks, I decided to make a musical tree! I tied bells and cymbals with twine and secured the instruments onto multiple branches of a pine tree. I hid some of the bells and chimes so the boys were given the chance to explore the tree while searching for the instruments. We talked about the different parts of the pine tree and the boys had so much fun shaking the branches with the bells and clapping the cymbals together!
Thumb Piano and Composing Music
We’ve had a lot of cold and rainy weather lately so we decided to head indoors to make an instrument for our musical forest. I work with an amazing teacher who always has awesome ideas. A couple of years ago she came up with this thumb piano idea for an inquiry unit activity. Here are the steps for making the thumb piano:
1. I used thin washi tape to divide the wood piece into four sections.
2. Sonny painted each section a different color.
3. I removed the tape after the paint dried.
4. I stretch the bobby pin so there was a space in between the two metal pieces. The bobby pin sits on the wood piece and the tape goes in between the two metal pieces of the pin.
To play, gently push on bobby pin’s end and let it spring back up. The pins have a different tone depending upon where they are taped onto the wood.
Here comes the really fun part! Tiny N3rds shared this amazing idea to help children understand the basics of composing music. I modeled how to make our “music notes” for Sonny. He made his own on the line under my music notes. Sonny made a pattern out of his music notes and called out the colors as he played!
The last instrument in our musical forest is the water xylophone. I’ve seen this done quite a few times, but it looks so pretty I had to try it! I got three of the same sized vases from the Dollar Store and filled them with different amounts of water. I added liquid food coloring to make the water in each vase a different color. Sonny had fun gently tapping each vase with his drumsticks and listening to the different sounds each vase made. He experimented with tapping different parts of the vases and talked about how “it sounds different when I tap the top of the vase and the bottom.” I suggested he tried using sticks as his mallet so he happily picked some sticks up off the ground. He starting experimenting right away and we discussed how the mallets make different sounds. This activity would also work well with the composing music piece from the activity above!
I hope you and your little nature lover enjoy these activities!