This is an activity that I created when I was a preschool teacher and it was very popular with the kids!
- washed frozen juice can lids (at least 10 or so, depending on how elaborate you want to make the chimes)
- seashells (optional)
- an interesting stick or piece of driftwood (I like to use curvy or gnarled sticks I find on nature walks)
- fishing line
- a nail
- a hammer
- liquid water color (optional)
What To Do:
This is a really simple project, but you do need to do a good portion of the assembly work for little ones…but I really try to let the kids do as much of the project as possible, since the whole point is that its a project for THEM, not me.
The first thing to do is take your child(ren) on a nature walk somewhere where they can find cool sticks. You may even have some in your backyard…or if you are at the beach sometime, look for driftwood. Anything that catches their eye…let them choose. As far as size, you want something between maybe 8-20 inches or so…but try to really leave the choosing up to the child, just try to guide them away from huge or tiny branches.
Once they have their sticks picked out they can start decorating the chimes. Before giving them the lids, you should use a nail and hammer to poke a hole near the top of each lid. (Older children can help with this.) Then give them the basket of lids to work with and tell them that you are going to be hanging the lids from the stick with the fishing line, and they want to have enough to hang so that they will hit against each other…its up to them how many they want to do.
To decorate the lids, you may want to use colored glue. This is fun & easy…just add a little liquid water color to some white glue and mix. Then let your child “paint” with q-tips on the lids, and sprinkle glitter on the glue if they like. They could also stick some pieces of colored paper, confetti, etc in the glue. If they want to glue both sides, you will want to have them wait til one side is dry before doing the other side.
Next you will want the child to help you cut out the fishing wire for each lid. What I have done is give the child the scissors and start unravelling the wire slowly and telling them to say “stop” when I’ve gotten long enough. If you go slowly, they will hopefully say stop before it gets too long. Remind them that the pieces should be around the same size so that the lids will hit each other…but you can do some adjusting as you go if needed.
Next, I have the child thread the fishing line into the hole and hand to me to tie the knot (unless you have a child capable of tying knots…I was working with preschoolers) Show them how to do this so that the line won’t come out when they hand to you and be right there to grab it quickly because it will inevitably come out anyway…remember the goal is to have the child doing as much of the project themselves as possible, so try not to just do this for them…they are so much more proud of themselves and their work when they get to do most of the work themselves!
Once you have every lid tied to a piece of fishing line, you are ready to have the child show you where on the stick each lid will be hung. Again, if you have an older child capable of doing this, of course you wouldn’t do this step for them. With preschoolers, I had them hand me each lid one at a time and point to the spot on the stick where they wanted it hung. Its very time consuming, but trust me, you will have a MUCH easier time than I did, being that I did about 5 or 6 of these a day for more than a week! Boy did my hands get tired of tying knots!!
The last step is to tie a long piece of fishing wire to the stick for a hanger. Attach it to both ends and VOILA! You are ready to hang!
Optional–If you have been to the beach, or if you have purchased some shells…try drilling holes in them and having the child string them as well…or how ’bout bottle caps? Old silverware? The possibilities are endless! Use your imagination! Let the child be creative and think of other things to try…see how they like the different sounds they make!
The finished product will be neat even if the lids don’t quite hit each other…and you can have some influence in that if you’re the one tying the knots (just shorten some where necessary) But the sound is really neat when they do! We had them all hung from the eave of our preschool side-by-side for weeks and parents were always commenting on what a neat look and sound they made! Another thing I really love about this project is that no 2 are the same. If you let each child truly do as much of it on their own as they are capable…they always turn out totally different…its really neat to see (and hear) them hanging!