Showing posts with label instruments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label instruments. Show all posts

Dreaming of Hawaii with Pu'ili, Hawaiian Rhythm Sticks, Music and Stories

Now this winter has been harsh for most of North America. The past two weeks it seems it snows five to six inches every few days here. I am so over winter and cannot wait for spring!! My friend, Daria, invited me to make pu'ili with Hazel and tell you about her fabulous giveaways!! Daria is giving away a ukulele and a pair of pu'ili [POO' ee lee] which are Hawaiian rhythm sticks. Now she thought of us because she knows about Hazel's ukulele and knows how much Hazel loves to play it as well as any instrument really. We have even made our own ukulele. I should also add that Hawaii is my dream vacation. Steve has already been there, but it is the place I really want to go. One day I hope...

Jingle, Jingle Bells

Have you entered my current giveaway yet? Also the Little Pim Giveaway?
So Hazel and I have been singing Old MacDonald's Farm on the way to school. We have added some more things to the song. One is that he has a Hazel whenever we both say the same thing. She giggles everywhere. We also added a Christmas tree to his farm. It jingles everywhere. This works perfectly with the wonderful ebook Daria has put out: Jingle Bells: 4 Easy Musical Crafts for Holiday Fun! Daria was kind enough to send us a copy of it for our use. I have chosen to review it here and did not receive any compensation besides a free copy of the book and all opinions are my own (and Hazel's).

We made two of the four projects so far. Yes, we plan to make all four. 

Hazel had the best time playing with them. Sorry I couldn't get the video to rotate on here. It is fine off-line.

 We made the jingle bracelets and the jingle sticks.
Hazel showing both of hers

The jingle stick is pretty simple and you can be creative with colors.
My Jingle Stick

 The jingle bracelet is very simple as well. 
My Jingle Bracelet

So head over to Daria's Little Village Store and purchase a copy of her Jingle Bell e-book for $2.99 and join us in some jingle holiday fun!

Homemade String Instruments

Today I am going to share our homemade string instruments. Now as I posted earlier this month, Hazel loves playing her ukulele, so when she saw we could make one in Nifty Thrifty Music Crafts by Felicia Lowenstein Niven, she wanted to make one right away. Our problem was we did not have an empty cereal box. However when I did my kitchen cupboard clean out I had several cracker boxes, so we used one of those. We also used a paper towel roll, paint, tape, stickers and rubber bands.

I cut a hole in the cracker box and Hazel painted both the box and the tube. Then we taped the tube onto the box. We used duct tape that matched the color we painted. She also decorated it with stickers. The book suggested painting designs, but that is above my four-year-old's ability. Then we added four rubber bands. It was set to play.
She prefers her real one though for the sound is a bit better.

Then last Saturday the free craft at Lakeshore Learning Store was to make a paper plate and bowl guitar or that is what the company called it. We called it a banjo as did several of the employees at our local store. 
This was an easy craft. You need a paper bowl, a paper plate the same size as the bowl, a tongue depressor, rubber bands, glue and markers, stickers, etc. for decorations. The kids glued the plate onto the bowl with the tongue depressor glued in between the two.

Then the decorated the plate and tongue depressor. Next the person running the craft put the rubber bands on. And that is all there is to this one.

So we hope you enjoy making some simple string instruments!

Making Musical Instruments--Homemade Xylophone

We found a fun book at the library. In Nifty Thrifty Music Crafts by Felicia Lowenstein Niven has wonderful ideas to take recycled objects and make music. Many of the ideas are familiar, but some have new twists. Hazel cannot wait to make a ukulele, but we need to finish our box of cereal first. This book also has rhythm blocks, panpipes, finger cymbals, colonial drum, American Indian clapper, tambourine, rain stick, maracas and a ukulele. We are definitely going to try the ukulele at some point. I also like the rhythm blocks, but we will see. Anyway we started with the xylophone. 

Now we have a xylophone, but making one is part of the fun of the homemade one. To make one you need empty jars, a wooden stick (chopstick, pencil or a stick) and water. You can also have food coloring--Hazel will tell you this is one of the best parts.
You fill the jars with different amounts of water and can add food coloring to each one. We made different colors in each one and tried mixing colors to practice what colors would make the secondary colors. We used different jar sizes, but they could all be the same.
Then you hit the jars with the stick to play it. Hazel had the best time experimenting. She tried hitting the sides where the water was, the sides where the water was not and the tops. Then she asked if we could put the lids on. Apparently I did not take a picture of this, but in this picture you can see the lids all around.
With the lids on she hit the sides and the lids to see if they made different sounds. She had so much fun with this activity. She did not want to dump it out so she could play for Daddy. She also asked if we could do it again. My little musician is always happy making music.
Needless to say, we will be doing this again. I think she liked the homemade one better than her store bought one.

A Day in the Andes

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Today I am going to explain our "trip" to the Andes thanks to Daria. Daria recently published a new CD and e-book about a child's life in the Andes. The CD is called Cancioncitas De Los Andes/Little Songs of the Andes and the e-book is called A Child's Life in the Andes.  Both were released April 2nd and Daria was kind enough to offer us a free copy of each to review and we LOVE them!! The combo pack of the book and CD are available at Daria's Little Village Store for $12.99. You can also buy just the CD at iTunes and Amazon.

Now before I go into how wonderful these activities are, I want to give you a little background. Daria lived in the Andes in Peru for part of her childhood. Needless to say she knows much about the area firsthand.

Now onto this great book and CD. Every time I play the CD, Hazel says to me, "Mommy, I like your music." The music is not like the music we normally listen to or even the other amazing album of Daria's that we have. We began our journey to the Andes by just listening to the CD a couple of times and loved it. 

Now that our mood was set, we sat down to read the book. We learned all about life in the Andes including what food was native to there. (Sorry we didn't have a play potato or I should say I couldn't find it if we still have it.) Plus about the animals and life in general for the children. Then there were all sorts of coloring pages.
Hazel only colored this llama so far, because we were busy doing the other activities like making musical instruments. We had already made a rainstick, so we some zampoƱas following the easy instructions in the book. Hazel loves trying to play them!

Then we decided to follow the suggestion in the book to have a stuffed animal parade, but we decided to use our two llamas (one stuffed and one plastic) and also to use our two instruments. We had Steven video us. (Fair warning, he is not the best with a camera of any sort!)
Now if you are interested in exploring the Andes from your home, please stop by Daria's page and buy her new CD and E-book. They are amazing and we really enjoyed them! Thank you to Daria for sharing these wonderful resources with us!!

National Hispanic Heritage Month Begins Saturday

Did you know that National Hispanic Heritage Month begins Saturday? It runs from September 15 to October 15th. President Lyndon Johnson put into place National Hispanic Heritage Week and President Ronald Reagan expanded it to a month. (Source) My friend, Daria, reminded me and asked if I would like to make some of her musical instruments in honor of the month. I, of course, jumped on it. If you have not already checked out Daria's webpage you should, but especially check out her Monthly Song Page so you can enter her great giveaways for a pair of handmade maracas and/or a basket of castanets. Everything we made today came from her tutorials which you can find links to on her Monthly Song Page. Everything was made with recycled ingredients for the most part or at least things we had hanging around the house.
Hazel had a great time making the instruments, decorating them and playing with them! The pictures above are of her making and decorating them. We will start with the most well known instrument we made--maracas! Daria does a great job of explaining maracas including a bit of history. We used a small water bottle (we only had one in our recycling bin), two empty bubble containers (with the wands inside still), toilet paper rolls, beads, and electrical tape (red) and then Hazel decorated them with paint. Hazel loved putting the beads into the different containers. I taped the toilet paper rolls to the containers and then she decorated away. We actually have some maracas from the store so I included a picture of them as well so you could see the similarities and differences!

Next we made the guiro. This is actually easy to make and is somewhat similar to the maracas. We used an empty water bottle with ridges. We put some beads in it as well. Hazel also painted it a bit, but I don't recommend this since the paint flaked off immediately when we played it. Again, Daria does a good job explaining the guiro and a bit of it history. I think this is my favorite one we made!

The last instrument me made today is a cajita. Cajita means little box. It literally is a small box with an attached lid. To play it you hit it with a wooden stick on the inside, outside, wherever. I had picked up a couple of wooden boxes on clearance at the Christmas Tree Shop when we visited my parents last week. (Daria suggests a cigar box.) I pulled out the smallest one and gave it to Hazel. She added some paint so she could add her own touch (or at least that is the reason she told me she wanted to paint it). Then she played it with a pencil as well. Again, Daria does a great job explaining about a cajita, so please check out what she says.

After playing it a couple of times she decided she wanted to use the box for Ducky's diaper cream. She thought it was the perfect size for it. Oh, well. 

Since the cajita is from Peru, I thought I would share a children's book for you about life in Peru, Tonight Is Carnaval by Arthur Dorros. All of the illustrations are pictures of arpilleras sewn by the Club de Madras Virgen del Carmen of Lima, Peru. They are beautiful!!
The story is told by a young boy about his family getting ready for the Carnaval, which is three days away. First the work must be done. He goes into details about the work including farming, taking care of the llamas, sheering the alpacas and turning it into yarn and then taking their potatoes to the market in the village. After the market the Carnaval will begin. If you do not know, Carnaval is a celebration just before Lent. In the Andes it is celebrated for three days and nights with music (from a local band which the story teller gets to play in this year), dancing and feasting. 

Stay tune for more Hispanic Heritage Sharing the next month!! Next week Monday will not be multicultural due to the Virtual Book Club for Kids, but I will share something with you later in the week.

Multicultural Monday: Meet DARIA

I have always had a strong belief that everyone is equal and should be treated equally. As a high school teacher I found a great way to support this believe through advising diversity clubs, GSA's (Gay, Straight Alliances) and going through on many diversity/multicultural trainings. I have decided to try to do a weekly multicultural post with some educational part to it for all of you who are teaching your children. I have many resources to pull from and am finding more all the time.

Recently I was contacted by Daria an amazing musician. Here is her official blurb: Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has five cd’s that have won national honors.  She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace.  Her website; located at, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content. You can find a complete list of her musical crafts and coloring pages at:

Daria asked me if I would be willing to listen to one of her amazing CD's (ok I'm the one calling it amazing) and make one of her musical instruments with Hazel and blog about it.She would send me the supplies for the instrument of my choice and the CD. Needless to say I said yes. The hardest thing was choosing a CD. In fact I think I'm going to go purchase a few more of them. I decided to get what I thought I would enjoy most and not what I thought Hazel would enjoy most and picked her I Have a Dream CD. Daria mailed it to me so quickly and I love the music and so does Hazel. I finally have something I can play besides Elmo in the car and make Hazel happy. Plus I enjoy listening to the music even without Hazel in the car. I also found some of the songs so moving that I actually loaned the CD to the Christian Educational Director at my church because I thought there might be some songs on there that she could use in Sunday School.

Needless to say I highly recommend this CD and I am going to purchase at least one more of DARIA's CD's. 

Then I got to choose an instrument for us to make. If you visit Daria's website you will see she has many crafts and instruments on there for you to do/make at home. She also gave me the choice of a quilted rainstick. Ok, Hazel has played with a rainstick at the Peabody Essex Museum and loves it (actually she loves any musical instrument) and I like to quilt. I figured this would be a perfect instrument for us to make. (For more information on rainsticks visit Daira's post on Making Multicultural Music.) Daria again sent me the supplies quickly. She however was still working on the instructions, so I had to wait. This week I got the instructions and we made our rainstick. Hazel loved it even before we decorated it. It was relatively easy to make. Daria sent us a mailing tube with wire and pipe cleaners. I gave the wire to Hazel to bend and kink up. She did an ok job at this, but I had to add some to it and then we put the pipe cleaners on to it. Then I taped the wire into the tube (making sure it went all the way through). Then we added some beads and sunflower seeds to make the noise. I played with the wire and what we put in it to get a noise we liked. You can watch the video to hear her play with it.
Hazel playing with the undecorated rainstick
Then we waited a few days to decorate it. To make it quilted we just glued fabric squares on to it. Since I had some pieces leftover from Hazel's quilt, I used them. I let her do most of the gluing so it is not perfect, but we like it. 
As soon as the glue dried she wanted it. She loves playing with it.The fabrics add such nice color to it.

Now I need to thank Daria, not only for the CD and supplies to make the rainstick but also for motivating me to blog about multicultural topics. If it had not been for her, I probably would not have explored this route and share one of my passions with you. So thank you so much, Daria!! I hope you will go check out Daria's music and her wonderful resources she has on her site and if you get a chance to see her in concert definitely go--I know I'll be jealous!!

This is where I link up...