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sparkle crafts: diy musical instruments

In this week’s Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story, “Silly Speak Songs”, Martin and Sylvia attend a fun class at their library where they learn how to create their own songs using both silly gibberish and rhyming words. They even change an old favorite – “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” – into a new, sillier version!

Part of creating a silly song is keeping a beat. The teacher Martin and Sylvia work with uses a guitar. Today we’re going to make some instruments so that you too can shake and strum along with the silly songs you make up!

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | diy musical instruments

Colorful Bead Shaker

This DIY instrument is perfect for the smaller set. With big chunky handles on each end, it is super easy for babies and toddlers to grasp. And such a delight for them to use, too; sliding the beads from side-to-side or shaking it with excitement!

You Will Need

Two Wood Toy Wheels

(2-inch, 1/4-inch center hole)

Wooden Dowel (1/4-inch diameter)

Wooden Beads (center hole larger than 1/4-inch)

Glue

Saw

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | diy musical instruments

What To Do

Grown-ups: Using a small saw, cut the dowel to the desired length; 6-inches is a good length for babies and 12-16 inches is a good length for toddlers and older kids. Insert one end of the dowel into one of the wooden toy wheels. Use a little glue to keep it secure. Slide the beads onto the dowel. Don’t fill it all the way – you’ll need some room for the beads to shake! We filled ours about 2/3 with beads. When all your beads are on, add the second wooden wheel (with a touch of glue) to the other end. Let the glue dry and then Shake! Shake! Shake!

Explore More & Make Connections

Can you make quiet sounds with your shaker? How about loud sounds? Besides shaking your bead shaker, how else can you use it to make sound?

Often instruments like yours are used in music to keep a beat; can you use your shaker to keep a beat with the music. Have your grown-up help you. Perhaps they can clap, while you shake in time with the beat.


Simple Beauty Finger Harp

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | diy musical instruments

The tactile nature of a finger harp is appealing to even the littlest of musicians. Younger children will need help with the rubber bands, while older children will be learning about tone as they see, stretch, and finally pluck each “string.”

You Will Need

Rectangular piece of wood Pushpins or tacks Rubber bands in a variety of sizes Paint & Paintbrush

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | diy musical instruments

What To Do

Paint the body of your finger harp and let dry. Grown-ups: push in the tacks lined up along one short-side of your harp. On the opposite side, stagger your pushpins in so that each pin is 1-2 inches closer to its mate. This will make the strings vibrate from a low to high tone. Have your little one stretch rubber bands across the tacks to finish the harp. You can wrap the band around the head of the tack a couple of times to prevent the bands from coming off as easily. This will also change the tone of each string!

sparklestories.com | martin & sylvia: saturdays! | diy musical instruments

Explore More & Make Connections

What do you notice about the length of the rubber band and the sound it makes when played? Why do you think that is? Do you think you could change the tone – or the sound – of your strings? How? Give it a try! What other instrument does your finger harp remind you of? How are they the same? How are they different?

About the Author

Andrea Folsom
Sparkle Crafts Blogger

Andrea Folsom describes herself as a writer, editor, creative maker, and eternal optimist. She is passionate about learning and sharing new creative techniques, making beautiful spaces, and talking about the social-emotional benefits of creativity and art. She runs Crafting Connections - a website providing inspiration, practical advice, and projects for creative families - with her close friend Danielle Reiner.

About the Author

Danielle Reiner
Sparkle Crafts Blogger

Danielle Reiner describes herself as a creative, a maker, and a mama. At the heart of her story is creativity, though that hasn’t always been the case. She rediscovered her deeply hidden creativity early in adulthood – with a ball of yarn and a couple of knitting needles – and hasn't stopped since. Danielle also runs Crafting Connections - a website providing inspiration, practical advice, and projects for creative families - with her close friend Andrea Folsom.


About the Martin & Sylvia Saturdays! Series

Saturdays are special days for our creative brother and sister. From enormous art projects in their own backyard to “explorers” adventures up Mooseberry mountain; from mornings of quiet building along the creek, to whole-family canning adventures in the kitchen, the children find fun and inspiration at every turn. Each story is accompanied by a craft or project inspired by the story, and a printable project page for more creative fun.