Rhythm Instruments
On this page you'll find several types of homemade rhythm instruments that can be created from ordinary materials.  Strike up the band!
God's Eye Jingle Shaker
Materials Needed: shorter stick (approx. 5" long)
                      longer stick  (approx. 10" long)
                              colorful yarn
                              two chenille stems
                              10 small jingle bells

1.  Have an adult drill a small hole at each end of the shorter stick and one end of the longer stick.
2.  Lay the shorter stick over the longer stick in a cross pattern with the short stick closer to the end of the longer stick that has the drilled hole.  Glue, if desired.  (Recommended for younger children.)  Allow to dry.
3.  To make the God's Eye, start by wrapping the middle point where the sticks cross several times in one direction.  Then change directions and wrap several times the other way.  You should now have an "X" of yarn around the middle of the cross.

4.  Now you're ready to make the beautiful God's Eye radiating from the center.  To do this, wrap the yarn around one stick exactly one time.  Move in a clockwise manner to the next stick and wrap it one time.  Continue moving in a clockwise manner and wrap the third stick one time.  Finally, move again in a clockwise manner to the first wrapped stick and wrap the yarn around it again, laying it next to the yarn already on the stick.  Continue moving in a clockwise manner and wrapping each stick in turn (being careful not to overlap the yarn wrappings) until you reach the end of the shorter sticks.
5.  To finish off, wrap until your yarn is on the bottom part of the cross.  On that lower stick, wrap around the stick several times, make a knot and pull tight.  Glue in place and allow to dry.
6.  Take a chenille stem and insert it into one of the drilled holes of a short stick.  Pull about 3" of stem through the hole, wrap around the end of the short stick and glue in place.  Thread on five jingle bells.  Repeat with the other short stick.
7.  Finally, take both free ends of the chenille stems, thread each through the top hole on the long stick, wrap the ends around the stick and each other until secure.  Glue in place and allow to dry completely before use.
Rhythm Blocks
Materials Needed:
   two wooden blocks (2"x5"x2")
   acrylic paint
   two pieces of sand paper (2"x5")
   extra sand paper
   acrylic sealer (like Mod Podge)
   dimensional paint (if desired)

1.  Sand blocks with the extra sand paper until smooth.  Wipe with a tack cloth or damp paper towel to remove any debris.  Allow to dry.
2.  Decorate the top and sides of each block by painting with acrylic paint.  Allow to dry.
3.  Apply one or two coats of the acrylic sealer on painted surfaces.  Allow to dry between coats.
4.  If desired, add texture and design to the blocks with dimensional paint.  Allow to dry.
5.  Finally, glue a 2"x5" piece of sand paper on the bottom of each block, making sure to adhere the edges well.  Allow to dry before use.
6.  To play:  Tap the blocks or rub the sand paper surfaces together.

Tree Tambourine Shakers
Materials Needed:
   a small, fallen tree branch in the shape of a "Y"
   acrylic paint
   strong florist wire
   8-10 flattened bottle caps

1.  If necessary, sand ends of tree branch until smooth.  Have an adult drill a small hole through the top ends of your "Y" branch.
2.  Decorate as desired with acrylic paint.  Allow to dry completely.
3.  Have an adult put a hole through the center of each bottle cap by hammering a nail through it.  Be sure to protect the surface under the cap when you are hammering!
4.  Take a long piece of florist wire or fishing line and fold it in half.  Put the loop end through one of the holes.  Pull the loop through the hole a couple of inches, then take the cut ends and put them through the loop and pull tight.  (Essentially, you are creating a slip knot with the wire.) 
5.  Thread 8-10 bottle caps that have been flattened with a hammer on the double thickness of wire or fishing line.  Insert both cut ends of wire (or fishing line) through the hole on the other limb.  Wrap it around the stick and itself until secure.  If you have enough wire (or fishing line), thread it back through the bottle caps the other way and through the first hole.  Wrap the wire (or fishing line) around the stick and itself until secure.  Tuck in any sharp ends.
6.  Add the final decorations: Glue a couple of feathers at the base of the "Y" in your branch.  Wrap it securely with colorful yarn and tie off.  Allow the glue to dry.   
Copyrighted 2000 by Kathryn Sheehan of The Silver Penny.
For personal use only.