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Making homemade musical instruments with kids is a wonderful way to explore the science of sound with them. We experimented by making a water xylophone this week. And of course, it had to be rainbow colored, because how else could you ever make it?!
How to Make a Homemade Musical Instrument~ Water Xylophone
This homemade musical instrument is probably the easiest one you can put together and kids have so much fun with it! All you need to make this is 6-7 glasses or jars. Fill each glass with water in varying amounts going in order from empty to full.
Test out the sound of each glass as you fill them so you can get just the tone you want. We adjusted them a few times to get a variety of notes. We tried to tune it with our piano, but were not able to get it exactly right. Even if the notes are not perfect, it is still so fun to play!
We mixed in a few drops of food coloring in each glass to color them. Do them in rainbow order to make it extra special. The color part is optional, but it makes it so fun and colorful! We all love a little color.
Now you it’s time to play your homemade instrument! You will need to find something to use as a mallet. We used a spoon, but some wooden sticks would work well, too. See if you can play some familiar songs such as Hot Cross Buns or Mary Had a Little Lamb.
Have fun playing songs to your heart’s content!
Have you tried this experiment before? What other homemade musical instruments have you made with your kids?
How the Water Xylophone Works:
Sound travels through water and creates vibrations. The pitch of the sound is going to vary if there is more or less water for the sound to travel through. The glass with more water will have a lower sound because there is more matter or water to travel through. The glass with less water will have a higher pitch because there is less water for it to travel through.
It’s just like a regular musical instrument. Guitar strings that are thicker have a lower pitch than strings that are higher. If you can see the inside of a piano, it is the same!
Here are a few fun facts about color you can teach your kids while doing this lesson:
ROY G. BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) is a fun way to help kids remember the order of the rainbow.
Colors all come from white light, that breaks apart in air. When the colors hit something, it sucks up every color except the one that you see! So, when you are looking at the green leaves on a tree, you are really seeing the green light that is bouncing back into your eyes. Isn’t that cool?
More Rainbow Ideas:
More Music and Sound Ideas: