Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Things To Do With Your Child #6: Making Musical Instruments

It is around this time of year that I start to pine for my old job.  I used to love getting my classroom all set up and ready for my new class in September and right now, teachers everywhere are preparing to go back to work after the glorious 6 weeks of summer holiday.  Doubtless, when I walk past the local primary school next week and see the poor sod on playground duty trying to remove three new reception kids from their leg so they can drink their coffee and screeching ineffectively about only using skipping ropes for the intended purpose I will be delighted that I am now a stay at home mum, but at the moment I feel a bit nostalgic and sad.  So much so that I had a brief flick through my old planning folder for my reception class last night in search of activities for Rory.  I hit the jackpot with an old lesson plan about making musical instruments:


You will need:
A kitchen roll tube, minus kitchen roll.  This will be no problem as you used the last of the kitchen roll up a few days ago when mopping up that biblical flood of wee.


Paints (or other mess making equipment)

Things to print with (optional).  We used a bit of Duplo, a sticklebrick, a cotton reel, a pine cone, a star shaped stamp, a button and Rory's sleeve, although that wasn't in the original plan.  Child initiated activities and so forth.

The lentils/rice etc that you scraped up off the floor the other day.

Tin Foil

An empty tin

A balloon

Things to hit a pretend drum with. (pencils?)



Risk assessment:
Risk of child eating dried lentils: Very high.
Risk of child injuring self on tin can despite you childproofing it: Very high
Risk of child attempting to eat balloon: Yeah, you'd think this wasn't even a consideration but it turns out to be pretty high.

Amount of time it wastes in the never ending day:
You have to do this in 3 stages:  

Decorating paper - about 20 minutes
Making instruments: 15 minutes
Breaking instruments: 3 seconds.

First, you need to decorate two sheets of A4 paper.  I decided that we would print on ours to give our instruments an aesthetically pleasing tribal motif.  I can only guess that I forgot to take my medication last night and was having some sort of manic delusion of grandeur.  Rory quite happy to print for approximately 30 seconds and then it descended into the usual finger/hand/elbow painting chaos.  

When the paper is dry, glue it around your kitchen roll tube.  Rory immediately located some Balamory stickers under the sofa and set about bastardising the pleasing tribal effect with PC Plum's curmudgeonly face.

Cut two circles of paper a bit bigger than the ends of the tube (by, for example, drawing around the wine glass that you've been gazing longingly at since 10am).  Make little snips around the edge of the circle and bend them upwards, then fix the circle to the end of the tube with lots of tape.

Fashion some big twisty spiral shapes out of tin foil that will just about fit into the tube and stuff them in, then get child to sprinkle lentils into tube.  

Stick the other circle of paper to the other end of the tube as before.

Demonstrate enthusiastically and hand to child as if presenting them with one of the seven wonders of the world.

Watch helplessly as child deftly removes one of the ends and tips lentils all over the sofa.  

Weep inwardly and feel like useless, unappreciated mother as child flings the tube to one side and shrieks with joy as he throws lentils everywhere.

But it's OK!  You have a second instrument to make!  What toddler could fail to be impressed by a drum?  Here we go with instrument number two:

Child proof your empty tin can by sticking lots of brown tape over the sharp edge.

Leave room to fetch other sheet of decorated paper.

Return to room 10 seconds later to find child merrily picking all the brown tape off and running his finger speculatively around the razor sharp can edge.

Re-child proof tin can and glue the decorated paper around it.

Hide Balamory stickers to protect tribal design.

Cut end off balloon and stretch it over the open end of the tin.  Secure with an elastic band.

Demonstrate hitting drum with a pencil.  It actually makes quite an impressive noise.  What child could fail to be won over by that?

Mine.  He hits it about 3 times then pulls the elastic band off, removes the balloon skin and recommences removing the tape in his quest to sever his fingers.  Ungrateful little...

At this point I remove the tin from his grasp, put Tellytubbies on and stomp off to the kitchen to aggressively load the dish washer.

Rory wanders through after a few minutes, leaving a trail of lentils in his wake.

"What you doing Mummy?" he asks, amiably.

Dying inside, Rory.  Dying inside.


  1. Hello.
    I love your blog. You really made me smile. Very witty and funny. I'm going to add you to my follow list. It looks from the pics that he is about the same age as my wee man.

  2. Thank you Claire. Off to look at your blog now. Rory was 2 in June and full of energy and constant chatter. x