My reason for choosing the ‘Coffee-Can Drum’ craft is; when I observe a young child banging on different surfaces two things becomes very clear; tapping on things comes very natural to us and forms part of how we discover this world.
It is understandably then that drums are omnipresent in our world and that it is also one of the oldest musical instruments dating back to 6,000BC.
Something I have learned from planning arts and crafts for the AfriSam play centre at the Two Oceans Aquarium; is when it comes to doing arts and crafts with kids the noise makers are the most popular with girls as well as boys. Furthermore I have learned that doing arts and crafts can be a very wasteful practice if we are not conscious about what we use and how we use it. Therefore I love all crafts that have a recycled aspect to it as well as a purpose. In combining all above mentioned aspects the ‘Coffee-Can Drum’ is the perfect craft and don’t worry we might call it a noise maker but this drum isn’t very noisy at all.
Purpose and educational value…
You might be wondering what the purpose of this drum is other than banging it all around the house. Well, drumming has all kinds of physical, mental and spiritual benefits for you and your child. It is a great way to get some physical exercise and to release some of that build up energy. Handling an instrument improves fine, gross motor and listening skills. It is also a good way to develop concentration. And never underestimate the power of that feeling of accomplishment obtained from being a musician, because it is priceless!
Drumming is a safe and constructive way to release and communicate emotions. Communication is in fact one of the original purposes of the drum. Known as the Talking Drums of West Africa these ancient drums were used to convey messages from one village to the next faster than someone riding a horse. Now you might not want to send a message to your neighbour but you could similar to the West African storytellers add some animation to a story. Let your child drum on certain words or actions in his or her favourite story.
It is also a grand idea to put on some music and let them drum to the beat as rhythmic drumming allows you to use your whole brain. Studies have shown that musical activities trigger several areas of the brain and therefore contribute to whole brain thinking. Which might be a good idea since technology doesn’t always allow us to use our whole brain.
Reduce, reuse, recycle…
It is also an excellent opportunity to educate your children about recycling. They are never too young; my son’s been an adamant recycler since the age of three. By reusing the coffee-can you are prolonging its life giving it more value and you are also reducing since you are not buying a new drum from the shop. And when you don’t need the drum anymore you can strip it bare from all the craft material and recycle it, thus preserving one of the world’s oldest natural resources. Steel packaging is 100% recyclable.
What you’ll need…….
- Clean, empty coffee can with a plastic lid
- Felt or any thick fabric, to cover top and bottom of can
- Fabric, any type to cover sides of can
- Pieces of wool or any suitable string or rope to secure fabric around can
- Craft glue
- Things to decorate can with
- Pen and 1 rubber band
Here’s the challenge; try not to buy any of these, use what you have around the house. One visit to grandma’s house provided us with all the off-cut fabric and wool we needed. My son’s got a craft box filled with goodies he uses for decoration, but you can use anything. Seeds and rice make wonderful decoration and even things from the garden would do.
8 easy steps
- Trace the top of the can on the felt. Cut the circle out 3cm bigger than what you have traced. Cut two of these. If you are comfortable with it you can guide your child to cut it themselves as it doesn’t have to be perfect, once it’s on the can it will crinkle anyway and you won’t notice any flaws in the cutting.
- Cut a rectangular piece of fabric the height of the can and long enough to go around the can. Again it doesn’t have to be perfectly cut as the felt will cover the top and bottom parts.
- Remove the plastic lid. Put craft glue from top to bottom around the can. Put the rectangular piece of fabric on a flat surface and slowly roll the can over it, covering the can with the fabric.
- Secure the plastic lid on the can. Put craft glue around and just under the edge of the plastic lid. Put one of the circular pieces of felt over the plastic lid and roll the rubber band over it securing it on top of the can, also making sure that the surface is flat and tight. Secure the felt by tying wool around the felt more or less at the place where you put the glue. Remove the rubber band and follow the same steps for the bottom of the can.
- Tie some wool on a few places around the can. Some cans have grooves and it’s good to secure the wool inside these. Take each piece of wool around the can a few times before tying it with a few tight knots. Make the first two knots and let your child make two more on top of that.
- Put craft glue on various spots around the can and stick some decorations on. Leave the drum to dry for at least one day before playing on it.
Drumsticks are an absolute optional extra as playing with your hands can be equally satisfying. If you feel that you would like to have drumsticks here are some ideas. Spoons make great drumsticks; decorate them with some of the left over fabric and wool. Paint some wooden spoons or chopsticks to match the colours of your drum. If like me you have some air drying clay in some forgotten drawer; find it and roll two balls, find two clean ice cream or kebab sticks, carefully press a hole in each ball with the sticks, put some glue inside the hole and put the stick back inside the hole, leave to dry. You can paint the sticks if you prefer.
If you and your child really enjoy the drum you can make an entire drum set with different sized cans. Some more crafts to do with your empty cans; punch holes in, decorate and use as a candle holder. Decorate and use as a pencil holder. Cans can also make great storage organizers. Last but not least make some holes in the bottom, decorate and use as a pot plant.
Below are some websites with more ideas for coffee-can-drums. If you really enjoy arts and crafts especially recycled ones visit us at the AfiSam Play Centre at the Two Oceans Aquarium for some more ideas. Happy drumming everyone!
By Marguerite Venter