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Xylophone Craft | Alphabet Letter X Theme | Colors
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Alphabet > Letter X >

Holidays & Events >
*March > Music in our Classrooms Month

Inventions Kids Love

Music > Percussion Instruments 

Science >  Water and Colors Xylophone

Toys and Games

We are going to explore the xylophone!

Prepare:  
1.  Display the letter X Xylophone poster
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 instruments.

Activity> Learning about a musical instrument and its origin:  

The xylophone (Greek xylon=wood, phone=sound) or marimba (almost identical) belongs to the family of percussion instruments.  This musical instrument originated in the African continent.

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 Colors

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.

Printing Options:

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)  Print black & 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 Craft

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 lemon.  

2.  Shape - The rectangle.  For this activity we can focus on the rectangle shape of each color bar.  Discuss that the color panels are 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 illustrated.

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.

Assembly  Suggestions:
The color panels should be first arranged from top to bottom by placing them in size order aligning the X's to keep centered. 

Other activities: 
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 and roller.  

Water and Rainbow Colors Xylophone - Science Activity:  An oldie with a twist!
Many of you are probably familiar with the water xylophone in elementary school.  This one has one additional element:  color mixing
Instructions:  
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 rim.  
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.
Resource > 
*Water Xylophone video presentation > Using glasses > add food coloring

*The Five Note Water Xylophone > Older elementary children

Craft Color Templates:
*Template 1a Bars or
*Template 1b (color outline)
*Template 2 Base
*Template 3 Mallets

Black & White Templates
*Template 1 Bars 
*Template 2 Base
*Template 3 Mallets

Printing Tip:
You can print two sets of mallets on the same page by reinserting the page on your printer and turning the page around.


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