This outdoor music wall is fab, and if you choose the right spot, it could be a good way to engage children outdoors, without getting in the mud.
What you will need:
The easiest way to build your music wall is actually using a picket fence. If you have this as an option, all of your musical items can be simply and securely attached using strong string or rope. If a suitable fence is not available, worry not; we have a back up plan. Drill suitable holes into the area of wall you will be using, and insert some metal eye bolts. You can either place one bolt for each item to be attached to, or place fewer bolts in horizontal lines and then string rope between them. The items can be attached to that instead.
Your musical wall will be made from a range of items which can be gathered for free from families in your community, and if necessary, charity shops. Let your imagination run wild, but to get you going, here are some suggestions:
- A range of different sauce & frying pans
- The lids from those pans
- Empty biscuit tins
- Different sized glass bottles
- Sets of old keys
- Chopping boards
Preparing the activity
Please bear in mind that this is the sort of outdoor resource that almost certainly needs its own risk assessment. Think carefully about the ages of children who will be using the musical wall, what implements they will be allowed to use on it, and how to mitigate the risks of anything breaking; child or instrument!
Items can be attached to the music wall permanently - simply by tying them with secure, strong knots - or temporarily using caribiners. You will be able to use a wider range of items if you secure them temporarily;
- Glass bottles can be removed so they don't smash in high wind
- Metal pots and pans can be protected from rust
- Wooden boards won't warp in damp weather
Doing the activity:
How your music wall is used is up to you! A few different options include:
Child-led, free expression
Offering children an alternative way they can express themselves is a wonderful thing. You may already provide ready access to pencils and paper for this reason, but the outdoor music wall has the added advantage of being noisy! Children who are too young to express themselves verbally can respond especially well to a resource of this kind which they are able to access freely.
Adult led, team instrument
If you organise the wall carefully, with high-note objects at one end and low ones at the other, this interesting resource transforms into a real instrument. With adult support, a team of children can work together to make simple music, waiting their turn to play their part of the wall at the appropriate time.
Adult led, maths & music resource
An alternative use of this resource introduces children to the ways in which maths and music are intertwined. Glass bottles are the best thing to include in your wall for this purpose, attached the right way up so they can hold water. Work with a group of children to investigate how different amounts of water make different sounds. Encourage the children to use both mathematical and musical language; "more" water makes a "lower" or "deeper" sound, for example.
Tracking the activity
16 - 26 months
Expressive Art & Design, Being Imaginative; "Expresses self through physical action and sound"
22 - 36 months
Mathematics, Numbers; "Begins to use the language of size"
30 - 50 months
Expressive Art & Design, Being Imaginative; "Makes up rhythms"
Expressive Art & Design, Being Imaginative; "Captures experiences and responses with a range of media, such as music, dance and paint and other materials or words"
40 - 60+ months
Mathematics, Numbers; "Can describe their relative position such as ‘behind’ or‘next to'"