I really love percussion instruments – show me a new catalogue and I’m lost for hours – I honestly can’t choose between maracas or maracitos, castanets or skiffle boards. I enjoy playing and making music with the babies and toddlers in Jellybeans Music classes with all the instruments – yes, even after all these years, I still find it funny when a child decides to use a castanet to ‘nip like a crab’. However, I am really interested in making sure that the children get to enjoy music making at home. For those of you who have access to North Kesteven or East Lindsey Children’s Centres, this is relatively easy – just borrow a MusicBag next time you are in, but if you live in Rutland or South Kesteven or if all the MusicBags are out on loan, what do you do? Well, you could buy instruments (and remember the Jellybeans Shop will be open well before Christmas!) or you could hunt around your kitchen and make instruments out of what you find for free!
I had a hunt around my kitchen earlier with the boys and then we made shakers full of different sounds and of course it was all completely free!
I think the perfect ‘shakers’ can be made out of plastic 1 pint milk bottles as they have a handle which even the smallest baby bean can hold. Make sure the bottle is washed out thoroughly then leave to dry while you investigate the cupboards. We hunted and found dried pasta,uncooked rice, bottle tops and seashells. Use whatever you find in your cupboards. Dried lentils and other pulses are wonderful sounds and I can remember one of my boys loving the sound of scrunched up tinfoil in a shaker. But please remember whatever contents you put into a bottle make sure you put the top on very securely and wrap it in sticky tape before giving it to your child to play with.
- Rice is a quiet, gentle sound a bit like raindrops. Vary the amount you put into the bottle to change the intensity of the sound.
- Pasta, however, is a much ‘harder’ sound. It is noisier and easier to see through the bottle. Again, vary the amount of pasta to change the sound.
- Bottle caps gave an almost hollow sound. Interesting contrast to the rice and pasta
- Seashells made the noisiest shakers. The most popular with my boys and my least favourite!
Just pop the contents into a bottle, seal it and away you go. Why not try varying the amount of contents in the ‘shaker’ to give a different sound? If you are feeling creative why not securely tie ribbons onto the handle for visual as well as aural stimulation. Why not make enough so you can have one too? Your little one will love sharing the music making with you! Make up your own tunes and rhythms or accompany yourselves singing your favourite songs and have lots of fun for free at home and don’t forget to let me know how you get on!