What kind of instrument can be made with a pencil???  It is likely for a child to get a colorful  pencil as a Valentine’s gift these days, esp. from teachers.  But, there are many creative ways to use it.  It can be a fun challenge to design and create a unique instrument with one or more pencils.

Since 2008, my Kindermusik students and families continually surprised me with their creativity.

For Valentine’s Day, I love to hand out a Valentine’s PENCIL to each student from 18 months old up to 7 years old.  They are challenged to make an instrument, of any sort, using this pencil (leaving it UNsharpened).   A few examples are demonstrated, and most of the students leave the classroom explaining their creative ideas in detail to their parents.  They are so excited to be given this project.


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make your own slideshow design

As you can see in the slide show, during the next classes, such a variety of instruments arrived!  Students were able to demonstrate their instrument, and, sometimes with the help of parents, were able to describe how they made their instruments.   One student got SOOO excited about the project, he made an instrument for everyone in class.

We all enjoyed a rollicking play-along song from their Kindermusik CDs.  Then the students were asked to place their instrument in a category (each on a different carpet square) that identified HOW sounds were made on their instrument:

  • tap
  • shake
  • rub
  • twist

Everyone had a great time with this activity, and you can tell by their faces that they are truly proud of themselves, or the young ones are just totally enamored by their own isntrument.

This might be a fun activity to try in your own home.  Just start with a pencil.  Look at all the different types of instruments and sound makers that you have at home.  Talk about ways to make sounds, such as those percussion methods listed above.   Have the child help you gather and lay out different materials you have to choose from in your home.  Then sit back and relax, and observe your child as they enjoy the process of creating something truly their own.  Describe what they are doing, and ask open ended questions, like “What can you do with that?”  “How should we put it on the pencil?”

If you DO enjoy this activity, we’d love to hear about your creative ideas.  How did YOU and your child make an instrument using a pencil?