How to make Jingle Sticks – a musical craft that preschool-aged children can make and play.
This year, the autumn days have been too lovely to stay indoors. Bee and and I found ourselves with a spare afternoon, so we headed out to the backyard to soak up the warm weather while it lasts! We found an awesome y-shaped stick that had fallen from our backyard gum tree, and it was just crying out to be turned into a ‘something’. Bee’s been showing a real interest in percussion instruments lately, so I thought we could try making one for ourselves…
How to make a Jingle Stick
- a large y-shaped stick
- yarn (we used wool, but a stronger yarn would be even better)
- wool needle
We have a huge bead collection. Most are pony beads, some are number beads (like the ones we used in our phone number bracelets) and there are lots more salvaged from broken bracelets and necklaces in there too… We’ve also managed to collect a bunch of different sized bells, most of which have a little loop at the back that’s just perfect for threading.
I tied one end of a piece of wool to one of the stick prongs, and threaded a large-eyed wool needle on to the other end. Then I let Bee have free reign to choose which beads and bells she wanted to thread on.
It might not sound like it, but it’s tricky for a 3.5 year old to hold a bead in one hand and thread a needle through the hole with the other. It’s fine, fiddly ‘work’ like this that works on hand eye coordination and developing fine motor skills.
There was a bit of troubleshooting. Bee pulled the needle off the thread a few times (and then asked me to put it back on), before she worked out how best to hold the needle whilst she slid each bell and bead down the wool. Some of our fancy old-necklace beads had holes that were too small to fit the wide-eyed wool needle; Bee tried a few, and soon worked out which ones would work and which ones wouldn’t. All natural learning, without too much intervention from me.
Once she’d decided she’d added ‘enough’, I tied off the end of the wool to the other prong of the stick.
And then shake, shake, shake!
After about 15 minutes of vigorous shaking, our piece of wool broke, which is to be expected really. We didn’t mind, we just collected up the scattered beads and bells, grabbed a new piece of wool, and threaded them on again. But if you wanted to, you could alleviate this by using a stronger yarn (such as nylon yarn) or fishing line instead.
Bee was so happy with how her jingle stick looked and sounded. She proudly showed it off to everyone she met for the rest of the day!
Here are some other ways we’ve incorporated music into kid’s play:
- Did you know you can recreate the sound of falling rain? Our DIY Rain Sticks are fun to make and listen to!
- Or you could make your own farm animal pegs to play with while you sing along to Old MacDonald Had a Farm.
- These easy frog finger puppets are super quick for parents to make (or kids could give them a try too), and they are great for frog-themed songs like Five Little Speckled Frogs or Galumph.
- Our tipping teapot craft is doable for toddlers and preschoolers (with a little help) or even kindergarten-aged kids (who could do it all by themselves), and they go perfectly with the song I’m A Little Teapot.
- Another popular craft on Danya Banya are our duck and duckling finger puppets, to go with the song Five Little Ducks Go Out One Day. Craft, Or another fun idea to go along with this song is inviting kids to make their own five little ducks with playdough, googly eyes and feathers.
- Bee and I made these nibbling fish pegs from upcycled toddler artwork, to go along with the song 1,2,3,4,5, Once I Caught A Fish Alive.
- You can change the expression on this DIY Little Bo Peep doll’s face from worried to happy, when her toilet paper roll lambs come home again.
- Kids can practice their number writing skills, and start learning about telling the time with this Hickory Dickory Dock Rock Clock.
- Or try a musical morning tea with our Incy Wincy Spider, Humpty Dumpty, and It’s Raining, It’s Pouring healthy kids’ snack ideas.
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What a fab idea. My kids would enjoy making and jingling these. Now to hunt for Y shaped sticks!
Thanks, both my kids loved it. (It’s not in the photos, but we actually made a second one for her big sister when she got home). The amount of sticks that our gum tree drops into our backyard is a blessing in disguise sometimes. 🙂
What a lovely instrument! Looks like a lot of fun 🙂
Thanks Chelsea – Bee had so much fun with it.