> Letter X >
Holidays & Events >
*March > Music in our
Music > Percussion Instruments
Science > Water
and Colors Xylophone
Toys and Games
We are going to explore the xylophone!
1. Display the letter X
2. Prepare a display to explore a toy xylophone and other
percussion instruments that you may
have: drums, castanets, maracas, cymbals, triangle, chimes, timpani, and
bells, etc. Refer to the display while presenting the rest of
the activities. Allow time for children to explore and enjoy the
Activity> Learning about a musical instrument and its
(Greek xylon=wood, phone=sound) or marimba
(almost identical) belongs to the family of percussion
instruments. This musical instrument originated in the
A toy xylophone is in many cases the first musical instrument that helps a young child to discover those magical musical notes and
the richness of colors. What a
powerful learning tool!
Activity > Online Activity: Listening to the
Xylophone and to other members of the Percussion Family
1. Visit dsokids.com
to listen to the xylophone, includes a short rendition of Twinkle,
Twinkle Little Star.
2. Visit here to learn and listen to the Double
Pit Xylophone - Benin, Africa
3. Visit playmusic.org
here and listen to various percussion instruments individually
(including the xylophone), and lastly to a composition played by many
of them together. Click on the word LISTEN under each instrument
listed on the left.
Activity #3: Craft - Xylophone Craft displaying the Rainbow
Skills to discuss during craft activity: Colors, Letter X,
Rectangle Shape, Counting, Sizing
The xylophone toy version usually displays many colors that are represented in
each rectangular bar.
The craft showcases the colors of the rainbow, each color
bar is a rectangle that displays letter X twice. The base in the color version shows a
brown wooden texture to reinforce that a traditional xylophone
is made of wood and the root of the word "xylon" stands for
wood. The mallets will be used to demonstrate letter X
again as they laid on top of the xylophone.
1. Option #1: Print color templates and review assembly
and learning activities below.
The pieces can be precut or children can help cut some of the
pieces. The xylophone base can be cut out optionally. It
is easier for young children to glue to the uncut base.
2. Option #2: This option is best for large
groups. Use black and white templates or a combination of black
and white templates
2 and 3
and the template
1b with color outline of the bars and children can color
each section in designated colors.
3. Option #3: (Large groups children under 4)
& white template #1a on card stock and use the bar templates
to trace over construction paper that has been fan folded to obtain
the number of pieces needed in each color.
Activity #4: Basic Skills Learning Activities with the
1. Color discussion: Discuss
and identify each color bar. Example: Hold a color bar and
say: What color is this? Yes, yellow. What
other things are yellow. How about the sun or a
2. Shape - The rectangle. For this activity we can focus
on the rectangle shape of each color bar. Discuss that the color
rectangles (two long sides and two short sides).
Have the children find other things around them that are rectangles -
a door, a refrigerator, window, area rug or table.
3. Alphabet Letter X - Each color bar displays two
letter X's, discuss and identify the X. Display the Xylophone
poster and say that xylophone starts with the letter X. Conduct
a separate activity for letter X. During the craft assembly the
mallets glued over the assembled xylophone to form an X as
4. Counting & Sizing: Have the children count
and organize the color bar rectangles in size sequence
from shortest to longest. Ask which bar is
the shortest? Which is the longest?
Learning about Primary Colors and Secondary Colors:
Before the assembly, the color panels can be used to make a
presentation about primary colors and how these mix to form secondary
colors. Print and additional template #1 to make a
demonstration and use these materials and presentation for this purpose.
The color panels should be first arranged from top to bottom by placing them
in size order aligning the X's to keep centered.
Lego Block Xylophone: Suggest to children to make a
xylophone with Lego blocks. and display their creations.
Clay or Play dough Xylophone: Children can use clay or play
dough to create xylophone with rectangle cookie cutter or play knifes
Water and Rainbow Colors Xylophone - Science Activity: An oldie with a
Many of you are probably familiar with the water xylophone in
elementary school. This one has one additional element:
1. You need six to eight glasses or glass jars (I use jam/jelly jars)
the same size.
2. Line them up next to each other but not touching. Gradually
add water to each jar from a little to the last one close to the
3. Add a bit of tempera paint or food coloring showing children how
mixing the primary colors will yield the secondary color - start with
red, then mix red and yellow to get orange, the third glass is
yellow, and so forth in the same order of the rainbow.
4. To keep the glasses steady make a base with play dough and press
the glass on the base.
5. Give children new pencils or regular metal spoons and have them tap
the glasses to hear the different sounds that are produced. The
glasses with more water will produce a lower pitch sound, and those with
less water will produce a higher pitch sound.
Xylophone video presentation > Using glasses > add food
Five Note Water Xylophone > Older elementary children
1a Bars or
1b (color outline)
Black & White Templates
You can print two sets of mallets on the same page by reinserting
the page on your printer and turning the page around.