2 June 2012
Make Your Own Baby Percussion Instruments
By: Tanya Fyfe (BEng(Environmental))
Introduce the world of sound and rhythm to your child through homemade percussion instruments
Babies and children love making noise...oops, I mean music! Percussion instruments in particular are fun from an early age and are a great way to develop motor coordination and promote an understanding of cause and effect.
If your baby or toddler hasn’t yet discovered their own drum kit, I suggest you introduce them to the universal drumstick, the humble wooden spoon. For a bit of variety you may like to experiment with a hairbrush or other household items. Or your bub may prefer to just use their hands!
The next step is a providing a variety of different surfaces to bang on so your baby can delight in the different sounds produced. Here are two approaches I have used:
1. Sit your little one on your lap or on the floor, with a selection of saucepans, plastic or metal mixing bowls or other large containers. Demonstrate tapping rhythms on each one – nursery rhymes are a good starting point, or tap along to your favourite music.
2. For a toddler, it can be even more fun to let them wander through the house and find their own drums, for example furniture or different floor surfaces. You may need to start them off with some suggestions, ideally using a drumstick of your own. Naming what you hit is also a good opportunity for language development. Bear in mind that this game can get very exciting and you will need to guide your toddler. To use a recent personal example, ‘No we don’t hit the cat... look, Mummy can make a good noise hitting the floor...’
If you would like to diversify beyond basic drumming here are a few suggestions:
- Bang saucepan lids together
- Make a shaker from any small container filled with rocks, dry rice or similar – my favourite is an empty Milo tin because it is nearly impossible for my toddler to open
- Blow (or make funny noises) through a cardboard tube
- Invest in sustainable musical instruments from Sustainababy such as the Plan Toys Wooden Drum, Tambourine or Xylophone
- Use your imagination to come up with others! We’d love to hear your suggestions.
About the Author: Tanya Fyfe is an eco mum and environmental engineer and lives in the WA Goldfields with her husband Andy and son Billy. The family's aim is to live sustainably and for Billy to grow up understanding where food comes from and how it is produced. They generate solar electricity and have an organic vegetable garden and modest orchard irrigated entirely with grey water.