Monday, May 3, 2010

taking music play outside: part 1

Children love to make their own music.  And what better place to make music than outside? 

Here are some simple ways to add soundscapes to our playscapes, and give children the opportunity to explore and create sound in the great outdoors.

Take the Instruments Outside

  • Gather up a basket of simple instruments, find a cosy spot outside and spread out a blanket. 
  • Hang some colourful scarves or lengths of fabric on the trees or bushes around the area to create a special, visually appealing space that is special and inviting to young musicians.
  • Place the instruments in a cubby house. 
  • Add puppets, scarves, streamers or dress up clothes to encourage self expression in movement and sounds.

Bang the Drum

There is nowhere I would rather have young children be when they are beating their drums than outside!

An arrangement of drums on different levels always looks inviting: surfaces such as steps, low tables, tree stumps or tree cookies spring to mind.   And if you don't have drums,a collection of pots and pans works just as well:  

Or you can make your own outside "thunder drums" using old barrels, or galvanised metal garbage bins.

If you would like to make smaller homemade drums take a look at Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning, where they made drums by reusing infant formula containers.

Please Join In
I would love to create more 'sound scapes' in our playground at preschool, so I would love to hear your ideas or experiences.

Stay Tuned
Part 2:  Sound lines, music trees, banging walls


  1. I made a "banging wall" with tree limbs, pots and pans, lids, etc. I was also able to create a large wooden xylophone, or perhaps it is more of hanging amadinda...both are a big hit with the children.

  2. I actually majored in music in my education degree (!!) so love taking music outdoors. We sing together outside as much as we do in, and I'd love to add some outdoor "instruments" to our yard. I've been thinking about hanging some metal pipes of varying lengths like a giant windchime...

    (PS - thanks for the shoutout. We had so much fun in that little cubby!)

  3. All you have to do is blog about it Jenny and we do it!

    I read this post before heading off to school this morning. I sent out an email plea for a galvanized steel trash can and it was waiting for me when I got there. We took most of our percussion instruments outside and made our Sound Garden even soundier!

    I like stalking your thoughts!

  4. We put old pots and pans outside on our decking and hung old lids on strings from the tree above and it looked and sounded totally irresistible. The sound you can get out of old pots and pans is really beautiful. Shame that within two minutes of the children arriving the pots and pans had been whisked off to the sand pit!?! Maybe next time we'll hang the pots and pans as well.
    Donna :) :)

  5. These are great ideas! I cannot wait to take the music outside with my young toddlers. They love to bang, shake, and make music.