In celebration of Independence day, let’s make some NOISE!   You and your child can make your OWN “Liberty” bell and let the bells RING out LOUD to celebrate the freedoms we have in this country !!!   That includes a LOT of freedoms for young musicians!  (Make sure to check out the slide show of my Kindermusik bell makers at the bottom.)

Making an instrument with your child can be an amazing  journey into their creativity and problems solving thought processes, as you FOLLOW the child, providing just enough support to ensure they FEEL PROUD of their accomplishment.

Here’s some ideas to get you started, but there are NO specific directions.  WHY? (say many of you who FEEL creatively challenged).  Because it’s not about following instructions (someone else’s way of doing things).

  • It’s about a child’s freedom of choice.
  • It’s about a child’s ability to plan out their own solutions to a unique task, and work toward their plan.
  • It’s about supporting a child in their efforts to bring a creative vision to life.
  • It’s about pride in sharing their creation with others, and using it for fun!

Liberty BellThe task:  Let’s make a Liberty Bell to celebrate our Independence !

Talk about what a bell looks like, the parts of it, and how it makes a sound.  You may even show pictures of, and learn about the Liberty Bell.Have your child help you gather about 3 – 5 options for each of the following parts:  (less options for younger, more options for older)

Bell – flower pot, water bottle, cup, metal kitchen bowl…

Striker (helps to have hole in it, easier to attach) – keys, nuts & washers, metal rings, keychain…  Make sure to have something to attach it with, offer options like string, ribbon, pipe cleaners, rubber bands, etc.

HandleWooden dowels are great – can use screw to attach from the bottom, which can also hold the string that holds the striker.  Ribbons or rope can also be used, as long as there is a hole to pass it through, and a way to keep it from falling out (in or out).

Items to help decorate your project – paint, star or flag stickers, ribbons /beads to glue on, markers to draw with – whatever works for the type of bell that is chosen.   (This Liberty Bell doesn’t HAVE to have a crack.)

With the choices in front of them, guide them in the process of planning and making their bell.  Bring their choices to the front, and support their efforts to make the bell, allowing them to try out different sounds before making the final choice.  It will be important for adults to make the holes, tie the knots, etc.  Just keep asking questions:  What shall we use for…?  What will it sound like if we use…?  How will we attach…?  What do you want it to look like?  Oh, no – it seems to have a problem – what shall we do?

In our recent Kindermusik Imagine That ! program, our students excelled at designing their own bells (with JUST enough support from parents to see their designs come to fruition.)  These aren’t decorated for Independence Day, but it might give you some ideas.  And you might enjoy singing along with Yankee Doodle !

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Bells - Spring 09
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  • Yankee Doodle went to town a riding on a pony.
  • Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.
  • Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle Dandy,
  • Mind the music and the step and with the girls be handy.

Children LOVE to be LOUD and benefit greatly from creative opportunities to enjoy making NOISE.   They will LOVE it even more if you are LOUD with them.  Add some DRUMS, and maybe some HORNS to the ruckus.

If your family is enjoying setting off fireworks in your driveway, it helps for the little ones to have their own way to participate.   With their noise-makers nearby… encourage them to choose a noise-maker for each loud firework that goes off.  Tell them to hold their bell quietly while the firework is being lit, then LISTEN for the NOISE… THEN they can join in with THEIR noise!

Happy Independence Day!