Homemade Kazoos

img_6092Creative Wednesdays

A kazoo is a very simple musical instrument, made up of a hollow pipe with a hole in it. They may be simple, but these little noisemakers are a great way to explore sound with kids. In this activity have the kids investigate how kazoos work by building their own.

Thin plastic, waxed paper, aluminum foil, and paper towels are thin pliable materials that can vibrate in response to sound. But the kids will notice the aluminum foil and paper towel coverings do not create the same vibrating quality to their voices as the thin plastic coverings do. Aluminum foil is less flexible than the thin plastic, so it will not vibrate in the same way as the plastic.

Let them determine if poking a hole on the side of the kazoo and size of the kazoo change the sound of their voices as well.

Do NOT let the kids share kazoos.

img_6094You Will Need:

Empty cardboard paper towel and toilet paper tubes
Plastic grocery bag (four-by-four inch square)
Parchment paper or wax paper (four-by-four inch square)
Aluminum foil (four-by-four inch square)
Paper towel sheet (four-by-four inch square)
Rubber bands
Sharpened pencil
Materials to decorate the kazoo (markers, wrapping paper, or craft embellishments)

What to Do:

1. Decorate the cardboard paper towel and toilet paper tubes.

2. Cut four inch squares out of a plastic grocery bag, aluminum foil, paper towels, and parchment paper or waxed paper.

3. Place the four-by-four-inch square you cut from the grocery bag over one end of the tube. Firmly secure it with a rubber band, but be careful not to bend your tube. Continue with the other squares on other cardboard tubes.

4. Have kids talk into the uncovered sides of the tubes. Have them determine what size kazoos with different covering sound like.

5. Have an adult poke a hole on one side of the cardboard tubes with a sharpened pencil, being careful not to bend the tubes.

6. Ask the kids if their voices sound different than it did before? What is different about it? What happens when you cover and uncover the hole with their fingers as they speak into the kazoo? While speaking into the tube, have the children gently touch the covering at the end of the tube. Ask them if they can feel it moving? Have them pull the covering more tightly across the opening and then less tightly and see if this changes how their voices sound. What changes make their voices sound louder?

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