Ask the teacher to arrange for musical instruments to be available. Some children will be able to bring instruments that they are learning to play into school.

1. Demonstration

  • Music box movement ( available on line for about £4)
  • Metal tray

4. Demonstration

Airzooker (available from online shops which sell ‘gifts, novelties and stocking fillers’.)

5. Activity Dance steps

About 10 children should be in line one behind another, spaced across the classroom.

Dance steps

Child 1 starts to step as shown in the diagram.

Child 2 starts to step after child 1 has taken the first step.

Child 3 moves once child 2 has started etc.

7. Singing rod

  • A length of smooth solid metal rod, e.g. a 1 metre length of aluminium rod works well. (Available from large DIY stores)
  • String-player’s rosin block and soft cloth (e.g. duster)
Singing rod

Rub the cloth on the rosin block.

Hold the rod at XX with two fingers and the thumb of one hand.

Rub the rod with the cloth, slowly and gently from the centre towards the end of the rod.

Repeat until the sound is quite loud.

(If rods of different lengths or different materials are used then they will produce different frequencies and can be used to support the work on varying sounds which comes later in this presentation.)

11. Activity

  • 2 sound tubes (pocket money toys which wail when whirled around – from toy shops)

Two sound tubes should be joined together with tape. One end should be placed over each ear of a volunteer with the tubing behind the head. Then the tube should be scraped or tapped at any point. The volunteer will be able to say which side of the join the sound was made even very close to the join. This works even if the tubes are twisted.

Sound tubes

14. Tunes from a coat hanger

  • Wire coat hanger
  • Two lengths of string
  • A fork

View this cartoon at:

15. Extra - Bush telephone

  • 2 (or more) paper or plastic cups
  • String

Pierce a hole in the base of two cups. Pass string through the holes and knot the ends. More cups can be attached by extra strings.

Bush telephone

19. Straw oboes

  • Straws (need to be straight – cut off the bendy bits if there are any) - enough for one per child
  • Scissors

Flatten one end of the straw - 2cm from the end to the tip.

Make two cuts in the now flattened end of the straw, to form a triangular tip. Insert the triangular tip of the straw into your mouth and blow hard.

Note: Prepare one per child before the session.

Straw oboes

21. Bottles activity

  • A collection of plastic bottles.
  • Spare bottles which can be filled with water on arrival and that can be used to top up the water.

Note: If you are unable to collect a good number of bottles, check with the teacher because many children have their own drinking bottles in school. If you warn them before the lesson they could have different amounts of water in them ready for this activity.

22. Manometer

  • Two 3 litre plastic ( lemonade or similar) bottles A and B
  • Note: the stopper for A is needed!
  • Length of plastic tubing ~1 metre long (obtainable from large DIY stores)
  • A cork which fits the neck of a bottle and has a hole bored in it wide enough for the tubing to pass through tightly.
  • Adhesive
  • Approximately 2.5 litres of water. (A drop of food colour makes the liquid more visible.)


(This proved to fascinate the children and was worth the effort of constructing it.)

Bore a hole in the base of A and fasten a length of plastic tubing into it. Use any suitable adhesive available and cover the joint with strong adhesive tape to prevent movement. Note: if the joint leaks slightly, a small bright cloth tied around the tube will stop it dripping.

Cut the base off bottle B and smooth the cut edge.

Use the cork to secure the tubing into the neck of bottle B.


Ask the teacher to hold bottle B

You hold bottle A (without the stopper on) and pour about 2.5 litres of water into B.

Blow across the neck of A and ask the teacher to raise and lower B so that the note changes.

When the demonstration is over, raise B so it empties and the water fills A.

Fasten the stopper tightly on A and invert A. The water can be removed after the session.

23. Wind instruments

  • Swanee whistle - Available online from about £2
  • Borrow other wind instruments. Recorders are good because it is obvious that the lowest note is sounded when all the holes are covered. The lowest note played by a descant recorder is C.

Details of recorder fingering at

25. Elastic and Box

  • Large metal biscuit tin or similar box
  • Fishing pole elastic - This is brilliantly coloured elastic which is very strong (obtainable from angling shops - about £1.50 for several meters or sold by length.)
  • Bulldog clip or similar.

Use the bulldog clip to fasten one end of the elastic to the edge of the box. In front of the children wind the elastic round the box four or five times increasing the tension each turn. Then pluck each strand of elastic.

Elastic and box

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