How to Make a Simple DIY Craft Kalimba for Kids
Make a Homemade Kalimba to Study Music in Your Next ESL English Class
In my English classes, I always try to incorporate fun activities to keep my ESL students motivated and excited. So I decided to make a DIY craft kalimba with my students at Step by Step Eikaiwa in Japan. It was a fun experience to learn about the unique African instrument. We could also study English related to music and making instruments for kids.
After learning the English words for the materials to make DIY craft kalimbas (paper bowl, popsicle sticks, glue, wood, etc.) , we practiced words related to music (long, short, high, low, sound, note, etc.) If you have more time for this lesson, you can also study other instruments in English and practice the questions, “Can you play the piano?” and “What instrument can you play?” for example.
How to Make Your Own DIY Craft Kalimba from Paper Bowls
What You Need To Make A DIY Craft Kalimba with Kids
- Two sturdy paper bowls (or plates, or container like a wood box)
- Popsicle sticks
- Wood glue (this takes a while to dry but it’s stronger than hot glue)
- Two pieces of wood for the bridge ( 1.5cm x 3cm x 7cm is a good place to start, but experiment to get different tones and sound quality)
- Scissors, markers, crayons, other decorating supplies
Instructions for Making a DIY Craft Kalimba
Glue the wood onto the bowl near the hole in the top half. After that, add a thin line of glue to place the popsicle sticks.
Arrange the Popsicle sticks how you like. Make sure to explain to the students the relationship between the length of the Popsicle stick and the note it makes. Having a sample kalimba already assembled is a great way to demonstrate this. We found that longer Popsicle stick placement had a better sound quality.
After the Popsicle sticks are in place, add another strip of glue over them. You can use a lot of glue this time to make the bridge sturdy. At this point you should wait for a few hours (actual time depends on type of glue and materials.) We waited for 24 hours and tried them out in the following lesson. Check out the videos below to see the results.