This homemade harmonica is a blast if you don’t mind a little background noise. Even if you do, they are such a hoot they are worth making! Open the back door and kick your kiddos outside to enjoy the fruits of their labor!
I used to teach art in the public schools. As a homeschool mama I am all about including the creative arts in our days. Well, the visual side of the creative arts anyways. We look at art, talk about art, make art. But music??? Ummm, we do listen to it. Does that count? When it comes to music my biggest talent is turning on Pandora.
Expression through noise. Or music.
When I talk to moms that are anxious about when and how to introduce the visual arts to their kiddos it seems so simple. My advice is always just to provide lots of materials and let them experiment with projects that focus on the process, not the product. That’s a great first step! Teaching art comes easily to me.
So, while I’m sure this homemade harmonica doesn’t cover “music education” class it’s a great start at allowing my little people to have fun expressing themselves through noise. I mean, music, ahem.
Homemade harmonica supply list~ so easy!
Each homemade harmonica requires 2 large craft sticks (Like these that come 300 to a box so you don’t have to be stingy when crafting!), paper, 2 toothpicks, and 2 rubber bands. That’s it. Easy peasy.
Update: I recently had an agitated reader tell me that this isn’t actually a homemade harmonica at all, but a kazoo. I’m being totally transparent here. I’m an art teacher, not a music teacher. Call it what you want this little homemade instrument is super fun!
You could make a plain homemade harmonica, but why?
We started off by decorating our craft sticks with permanent markers. I may possibly have told my kids their harmonicas would play happier music were they decorated. (My kids are used to me. They know better.) Use permanent markers (like this Sharpie assortment) or you run the risk of kids with marker stained mouths later in the day!
The part that whistles….
The next step is to trace the shape of the craft stick onto paper and cut it out. Sandwich this paper between your two decorated craft sticks and secure the two crafts sticks together on one end with a rubber band.
After the rubber band is holding one side together you want to wedge a toothpick between the two craft sticks. It doesn’t matter if the middle paper is on the top of the toothpick or the bottom.
Once the toothpick is in place an adult should trim off any extra.
On the second side we found it easiest to hold the toothpick in place and then secure the two craft sticks together with rubber bands. Cut off excess toothpick.
For some reason it seemed to work best if the paper was over the toothpicks on one side, and under on the other side.
Press your lips together and hum…..
It took my littles a few tries. This instrument works when you apply a bit if pressure on the two craft sticks while blowing out. Bringing the craft sticks closer together allows the paper to vibrate. Once they got, holy cow, they got it.
The spit problem….
My youngest never got the hang of this noisemaker without some excess spit happening. The paper portion of his harmonica was getting wet and soggy within minutes and then not working. Frustration. My eleven year old came up with the perfect solution. (Don’t you love it when your kids think of ways to solve problems before you do!)
Instead of sandwiching paper between the two craft sticks he suggested using plastic. An old Kroger’s bag was traced, cut, and sandwiched in between the two stick and~ it totally worked! The sound quality is a little different but Mr. Six was thrilled. It would be interesting to experiment with other materials too!