With the most recent lockdown our little ones will spend more time indoors again. Why not engage them in making music and make a kitchen band!? The best place for that? The kitchen!
We parents spend a lot of time in the kitchen. We’re busily engaging in the actions of cutting, chopping, grating, slicing, frying, boiling and baking. When young children hear the familiar sounds of these culinary activities coming out from the kitchen, they are curious about them. Often, they wish to participate in the cooking activities. But because the kitchen is not the safest place for little kids to hangout in, they are often discouraged from doing so.
The kitchen is the most ‘musical’ part of the house though, apart from the music room, if you have one. If we can use a little imagination and a dash of creativity, we can create a fun connection between culinary art and music! Here are some ideas for you to start with.
Making musical instruments
Scan the kitchen together and look out for potential materials to make your musical instruments.
- The maracas or shakers. You will probably have rice, beans, lentils, dried pastas or black peppercorns stored in your kitchen cabinets. When poured into food containers, water bottles, or empty drinking cans with the holes sealed with tape, they make very good shakers.
Other percussion instruments you can make are:
- Side drums – use an empty Danish cookie round tin to be played with a pair of wooden chopsticks – stick some Blue Tac at the ends for muted effect.
- Tubular bells – tie a row of metal forks hung from a clothes hanger (or any holder you can find in your kitchen) and run a metal spoon against them to make a nice chiming sound.
- Glass glockenspiel – use some glass bottles and fill them with water in varying heights to get pitches in ascending order. You can start with three to get do-re-mi notes for Mary Had a Little Lamb or five notes to play Beethoven’s Ode to Joy! I love this version from the Muppet Show.
- Or you could just shake a bunch of measuring spoons tied up together to make a great clanky sound!
Some fun ideas to use your kitchen instruments for
Create a rhyme or a song with a rhythmic beat – you can scour your kitchen for ‘instruments’ to accompany them with. Forks and spoons, empty jars, chopsticks, pots and pans are just perfect. Just don’t use your most expensive ware if you do not wish them damaged or totally destroyed.
The keyword is EXPERIMENT – try making sounds by knocking, tapping, stroking, scratching, rubbing, shaking, strumming and plucking. You are bound to discover sounds that you would never have encountered before. Working with your child in trying to create sounds from kitchen utensils is not only fun, but it can actually be very fulfilling!
Singing sessions in the kitchen
You can have regular singing sessions in the kitchen, while you are prepping breakfast or lunch. Your toddler or preschooler can sit comfortably in the high chair, away from the hot stove. Give them a pair of spoons to hit with, a homemade shaker, tambourine, or a kazoo. Action songs are the best, because it involves the whole body. ‘Incy wincy spider’ or the ‘Wheels on the Bus’ are some good examples. Use different instruments to accompany the different verses in the song.
So, to sum it all up: to instil a love of music in your children, you have got to be infused with curiosity and a sense of fun yourself! It’s okay to try things out and to make music an integral part of your life. Because to be able express oneself musically, is one of the highest forms of human expression. A musically expressive child is a happy child! So bring it on – your family’s very own kitchen band, and make some awesome music together.