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  • Writer's pictureKeith

Weekly Activities - Percussion Sticks

Book of the week

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.



A classic picture book detailing a family's outdoors adventure in pursuit of a bear. This beloved favourite makes playful use of repetition, rhythm and sound for an unbeatable read-along experience... The perfect book to accompany making our percussion sticks!


Weekly Activities

 We started by talking about what percussion means and about different types of percussive instruments. We brought in some percussive instruments and let the children have a go with each of them. We talked about what sound they make and asked questions such as were they loud or quiet, etc. We encouraged the children to experiment banging sticks on different materials and to listen to the sounds they made. We gave the children the opportunity to talk about which instrument(s) they liked the most.

Most of the children had a go making their own percussion stick. They all enjoyed the bells and the sounds they made when they shook the percussion stick. As an introduction for the activity we used different percussion instruments as a drum and a shaker and the children experienced how each instrument made different sounds. Some of the children made links and start singing "Jingle bells", others enjoyed looking at the patterns on the wooden beads and others were interested in the shapes of the beads.

All the children were interested in the "Y" shaped stick I used for my own example percussion stick and they did a great job at finding the same type of stick or using the secateurs to cut a suitable stick to size. The younger children had a bit of help finding theirs but many of the older ones found the stick by themselves.

The children enjoyed threading the beads and bells onto the wire while at the same time showing great concentration as they listened carefully how to use the tools safely. We used a measuring tape to measure the length of the wire to cut for the task. Some of the older children had different ideas on how to make their percussion sticks and they chose different shaped sticks instead. We had a boomerang shaped stick, a semicircle shaped stick and even an "F" shaped stick. 


Aims and Objectives

  •  Support and develop moving, handling and fine motor skills

  • Explore different ways of moving and dancing

  • Learn to use tools safely

  • Using media and materials

  • Exploring loud and quiet sounds

  • Learn turn taking and accepting others needs


Home Activity

Making instruments out of other things isn’t a new idea. Centuries ago, people made drums and other instruments from objects they found, including bones, wood and hard-shelled fruit called gourds. African slaves who weren’t allowed to play their own drums would make instruments in secret from shipping boxes and dresser drawers. Orchestral instruments have been made from rubbish recovered from landfill sites too. In Paraguay, The Orchestra of Instruments Recycled From Cateura, is a youth orchestra for deprived children with even violins and cellos made from scrap material.

Here's a link to a short You Tube film about them to inspire you to have a go at making your own instruments with you child:

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