March to Your Own Drummer

Kellen has always had great rhythm.  He started clapping his hands before he could even sit up on his own.  So I was not surprised that he asked for a drum party for his third birthday.

My in-laws and I spent months collecting buckets so that each child could decorate and take his own drum.  I learned that if you ask at bakeries and chain restaurants for empty buckets, you can usually walk away with a couple.  Who knew that frosting and salsa came in buckets?  I cleaned off the old labels, got tons of stickers for the kids to put on, and ordered a dozen sets of drumsticks off of Amazon.  We were ready for a toddler drum circle!

We started off reading the book “Max Found Two Sticks” by Brian Pinkney.  In the book, Max makes a bucket into a drum, along with other items.  It was the perfect lead in for our drum circle.

We examined our drums with our hands, playing the tops and sides, using open and closed fists.  Then we broke out the sticks.  We played loud, soft, slow, and fast.  We counted beats and ended with playing and singing “Happy Birthday.”

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Of course, I can’t stop there.  More is more!

I decided to create a couple of other sound areas for the kids to play in.

My sister and brother-in-law sent me a fantastic tepee.  It had been my brother-in-law’s when he was a boy.  Then his son played with it, and now my boys like to hide there too.  I let the kids draw on the tepee with markers.  I placed around the tepee for them to explore- homemade rain sticks, tambourines, shakers, and bells.

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I wanted to make a version of the MADE Garden that I saw at the Spark Festival.

https://www.facebook.com/madegarden

The actual MADE Garden was produced with all recycled materials.  I wanted to honor that idea as much as I could.  I made pillows, bean bags, and streamers with old t-shirts, and other items I had on hand.  We made sun catchers from beads I had in my craft closet from my jewelry making days.  I did purchase the curtains from a thrift store- I just didn’t have that many curtains.

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I realized how integral the “bees” were to the MADE Garden experience.  At the MADE Garden, performers dressed as bees interact with the children.  They do not really talk, but they do make sounds with their actions, like tossing a bean bag and saying “bum!”

At first, the kids thought it was a regular fort.  They liked it, but weren’t really sure what to do.  My sons and I began showing what we done at the MADE Garden.  Another mother brought in some new ideas, and soon everyone was having a great time.  We stacked bean bags like cakes, put them on our heads, pretended they were monkeys on our shoulders, buried our feet  in them like sand, used them to trap villains as part of our superhero powers, and a ton of other ideas.

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We finished our drum party by eating drum cupcakes.

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Just now, Kellen came in tapping “dum di di dum” on the floor- a rhythm we played at the party today.  His brother told me it was the best party ever.  I guess that means I did ok.

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