Tapestry of Faith: Creating Home: A Program on Developing a Sense of Home Grounded in Faith for Grades K-1

Activity 4: Making a Log Drum

Part of Creating Home

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Empty aluminum cans - two equal size cans to make each drum
  • Large roll of plain paper
  • Clear packing tape to secure paper to cans
  • Scissors
  • Crayons, markers, and/or paint and brushes
  • Sticks
  • Optional: Newspaper

Preparation for Activity

  • Collect empty aluminum cans in advance. You will need two cans of identical size to make each drum. You may want to ask families to begin donating their used aluminum cans several weeks before the session.
  • Gather enough plain paper to cover all participants' log drums, packing tape, and scissors.
  • Set out crayons, markers, and/or paint and brushes at worktables. If children will use paint, cover tables with newspaper first.
  • Purchase chopsticks or gather sticks from outdoors for children to use to beat their drums.
  • Preassemble some or all of the log drums. Leave at least one unmade, so you can show the group how it is put together.

Description of Activity

Share with the children, in your own words:

Everywhere you look, all over the world, people have drums. People have drums in Africa and drums in Asia. There are drums in Europe, North America, and South America, too. The drums may not look the same, but all drums are percussion instruments. That means an instrument that you strike to make a sound. All over the world, people use drums and other instruments to make music together. Many times when people gather together, they like to make music. Do any of you make music at home? What about here, at our congregation. Do we make music in our faith community like Hare and his friends did in their village?

Give specific examples of music-making from your congregation. Allow a few children to contribute examples. Then say:

Hare's drum was very simple. You can make a very simple drum, too. You can beat on a trash can or the tabletop. We have some materials here for making a drum that resembles Hare's log. So, if you like, come make a drum and after it's put together, you may play upon it.

Place the open ends of two aluminum cans together, and secure them with packing tape, being careful of jagged edges. Tear off a piece of plain paper long enough to cover the cans. Tape one end of the paper to the cans; wrap the paper tightly around the cans until they are covered, then tape the other end of the paper down. Trim extra paper on either end to expose the tin top and bottom of the "log drum."

Demonstrate the sound that is made by rapping the cans with a stick. Distribute log drums that you have made in advance, and instruct children to begin decorating their drums any way they like.

After everyone has finished (and any paint on drums is reasonably dry), distribute sticks to all participants. Ask for a volunteer to tap out a rhythm on his/her log drum. After each child takes a turn, thank the child. Once several children have drummed, point out how unique each rhythm was and thank them for sharing their music with the group.

Lead a short discussion of the benefits of playing individually versus playing as a group. In your own words, share these ideas:

  • The individual player gets to present us with the gift of their playing and we can easily acknowledge it. We can hear their beat better because it's the only one playing.
  • They can play anything they want to play.
  • In the group, someone might like to play a beat that fits in well with what others are playing. It's not as easy to hear your own beat, but the group music is more varied and creates a bigger sound than just one drummer.
  • If a drummer is unsure what rhythm to play, playing with others might offer some ideas of rhythms to try.

Now invite everyone to play together, as a community. Encourage the children to try coordinating the sounds of their drums. Then, encourage them to simply "do their own thing."

Set the log drums aside. You may wish to use them in Alternate Activity 1: Freeze Dance later in the session.