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Art & Construction Activity

Making a Shekere:

Things you need:

An empty plastic milk or soda jug.

Some string

Different colored beads, shells, or other small trinkets, each with a hole large enough for the string.

Time! (this is great to do while you're listening to music!)

• First make a braid out of three long strings. Tie your braid like a loose collar around the top of your jug.

• Now cut twelve (or more) strings that are FIVE TIMES the length of the jug from very top to very bottom.

• Fold over each string so it is double. Put the loop over the braid, and pull the ends through. Now tie a knot so the strings will stay in place. Do that to each string, in even intervals around the jug.

• Now, take one bead and string it on the right string of a pair. Take another string and put it on the left string of the pair next to it. Tie those strings together, not too tight! Keep going, all the way around the jug till you've done a whole row! Try to keep the spaces even between the knots. Now start again and do another row. Keep going and going until you reach the bottom of the jug.

• At the end, make another braid and tie all the strings to it, leaving the braid about as big a circle as the top one was. Now trim the ends of the strings. Keep it loose so the beads make sound when you shake it. If you hit the bottom of your jug with your palm, listen to the sound it makes!


Making a Pie Pan Tambourine

A tambourine is both a drum and a shaker. Make one from stuff you find around the house.

• Find two aluminum foil pie pans -- the kind from frozen pies.

• Put them together with the bottoms facing out. Use duct tape, packing tape or stapes to fasten the edges together halfway around, making a pocket.

• Put a handful of dry rice, popcorn or beans in the pocket.

• Fasten the rest of the way around the edge.

• Decorate with stickers, feathers, strips of paper fastened around the edges, or whatever you like.

Shake it! Slap it!


Making a String Instrument*

Things you need:

A small box, plastic container or hollowed gourd for each child

Fishing line

Brass fasteners or packaging tape

• Put the "body" (box, plastic container or hollow gourd) of your instrument on your desk

• Cut 6 strings from fishing line. Each piece should be long enough to be flattened from one end of the container to the other.

• Using fasteners or tape, secure each piece of line so that it’s long enough to strum.

Pluck away!


*Courtesy of Aimee Ganble and Dr. Judith Borelli-Caldwell for World Arts West.