As pediatric occupational and physical therapists, we know firsthand the power of music to be able to target just about every developmental skill under the sun! Here’s one of our favorite ways to play with music…a Homemade Percussion Workshop!
I witnessed the power of percussion up close and personal last summer at my son’s Dalcroze music class at a nearby art center.
Dalcroze classes are all about music and movement, allowing children’s movements to shape the music (the instructor improvises on the piano and other instruments) and for the music to also shape the way the kids move.
I was observing one of the classes when the instructor brought out a little hand drum. As she tapped out rhythms in different tempos and volumes, I watched the group of three-year-olds move their bodies exactly in unison and transition between movements so seamlessly that it looked like she had them under some kind of magical spell.
The instructor never said a word. The kids just knew instinctively what they were supposed to do – they galloped like ponies, they jumped at different speeds through a course of hula hoops, they stomped like giant elephants – without ever receiving any verbal instructions.
It really hit me….Percussion/music leads = movement. And, as pediatric therapists and moms, we know that movement leads to healthy development.
Today, we’re here to share a simple Homemade Percussion Workshop – the perfect musical accessory for your home! This activity offers a million possibilities for dance, movement, exploration, experimentation, and fun!
What you’ll need:
-An empty shoe box
-An empty coffee can
-An empty plastic storage container
-A small metal pot
-A small metal pan (e.g. a cake pan)
-A large wooden bowl
-A metal strainer or colander
-Change any of these out for the containers you have on hand – just make sure you have a good variety of materials (metal, wood, cardboard, plastic).
-A metal spoon
-A wooden spoon
-A plastic serving spoon
-Add to the list with your own creative ideas for drumsticks!
What to do:
Discover your drums and drumsticks.
First, encourage the child to choose one set of drumsticks. Show him how to test out each drum using the same set of sticks. Then choose another set of sticks and repeat.
-Play “traffic light” with the drums. When you call out “Green light!” everyone plays their drum as fast as they can. Call out “Yellow light!” and see if everyone can slow their speed down. Then, without warning, call out “Red light!” and see who can be the first to take the cue and stop playing!
-Try “traffic light” with movement! You be in charge of playing the drums and have the child dance along. For “green light” play the drums quickly and have the child dance quickly along to the beat. For “yellow light”, slow your playing down and see if the child can match his movements to your playing. “Red light” means everyone freezes!
-Ask your child to choose a drum and try to make:
-the sound of falling snow
-the sound of thunder crashing
-the sound of rain falling
-the sound of a phone ringing
-the sound of an elephant stomping
-the sound of a mouse scurrying across the floor
-What other things make a loud sound? Can you make your drums make that sound?
-What other things make a quiet sound? Can you make your drums make that sound?
-Play a beat for your child on one of the drums and see if she can repeat it.
-Turn on some music and play the drums along with your favorite songs!
-Use the drums to make sounds that accompany your child’s movements. Cue your child to jump, run, skip, or walk and play a beat along with them. It’s amazing how kids can match their movement to your beat and how you can mirror kids’ movements with the beat of a drum.
Skill Areas Addressed:
Try some of our other favorite music and movement activities: