During the summer program our preschool incorporated a wood working center for the elementary school students. We wanted them to experience drafting a plan, thinking the plan through to achievement, and just how much time and labor go into creating their vision.
Instant gratification is part of our society. Many societal projects are done in a no time. For our wood projects we took our time. We started outside by sanding all the edges. We learned that different colors of sand paper had different textures. We also learned which grain of sand paper to use.
It was a great way to release whatever tension the children needed to let go of. The older children helped the younger children when they got tired of pounding blocks of wood together. Each child chose the pieces of wood to use, how many nails, and what was the best way to attach the wood pieces together. Some made buildings, others made boats or cars. They painted the wooden projects and proudly took them home.
After watching this process the pandas and monkeys wanted a chance to sand, build and hammer. That’s when I discovered the outdoor xylophone on Pintrest. The children always like to smack and pound things. Why not let them build something they can pound on. So, I went to the hardware store and bought the wood cut at different lengths and a wooden dowel cut into 4 pieces for the mallets.
The 3yr and 4 yr olds started to sand the boards. They were so proud of the work they did. They would take turns holding the boards for each other. We worked for days to get all of the boards sanded. The children really got to experience a long term project. The wood pieces were painted and our handy guy Rob drilled the holes and strung up our new music maker.
A preschool with many children can be very hard on toys and equipment. I hoped that the students would take pride in all the work and team effort and take good care of the instrument. The first few days it was in constant use. Everyone needed a turn. We talked about the colors of the boards and the length of the boards. Even though some boards were the same colors they did not sound the same.
We sing songs while other students play the instrument and everyone anxiously waits their turn. Some children prefer just one mallet at a time to play. Of course some want to bang on anything with the sticks. We remind them that the music was made by the sticks on the boards. Sometimes I take speakers out and we play with the music. We hold band concerts and everyone joins in the fun.
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