Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Coffee Can Drums

I guess I am full of kid-friendly projects this week! Large coffee tins or fruit tins are the perfect shape and size for little ones to create their own drums! Here's how...


Here's a super fun project for elementary school age students. I did this with two mixed age groups - and the outcomes varied dependent on age. Older kids took more time, meticulously drawing their patterns and filling them in with set color combination's, while younger kids just wanted to free draw and color without much structure.

We talked about drums, specifically those indigenous to Africa like the Djembe (we're following a "Celebration of Culture" theme) and looked at photos. Then, we looked at examples of African textile patterns. The goal was to emulate that style of pattern on the decor of the students' drums.

- One large coffee, fruit, etc. can
- Masking tape
- Construction paper
- Crayons
- Clear tape
- Pencil
- Crayons
- Wax paper

Step One:
If you're using a can that has had the top cut off with a can opener, tape masking tape around the edge just in case there are any slivers of metal lurking!

Step Two:
Cut a piece of constuction paper the size of your coffee can. Make sure it is long enough to overlap at least a little.

Step Three:
Ask students to draw their own recurring pattern on one side of the construction paper using a pencil. You'll find that some students instinctively take their time and put lots of detail into it - and some don't! : )

Step Four:
Next, ask students to trace over all of their pencil lines with a black crayon (you could also use a black sharpie for this part). I told students to press hard with their crayons to get a good solid line. Note: the tracing aspect of this is great coordination practice for younger kids...

Step Five:
Now students may color their designs. I encouraged them to use bright colors and press hard with the crayons to create bold patterns, and consider using specific color combinations and orders.

Step Six:
I taped a circle of wax paper just bigger than the coffee can over the open end. Be sure to tape it as taught as possible so that the best sound possible can be achieved when hit. Then tape the construction paper with finished designs around the can with clear tape.

Be sure to emphasize to your little drummers that their drums are meant to be played gently with their hands - anything else will break the wax paper! Also encourage them to alternate striking the wax paper (skin) top and the metal bottom to hear the differences in timbre.


1 comment:

Dot said...

Hey! thanks for stopping by :) love this idea -- you have such great ones!