Paper Cup Drums

Paper Cup Drums (8).JPG

A kitchen band never gets old; everyone loves clanging on pots, tapping together spoons, and banging on old pans, from toddlers to big kids. But sometimes I don’t want to clean out all the pots after the kids have played with them… and that’s where these clever paper cup drums come in, this month’s craft from High Five magazine. Travis got to use kitchen items for his instruments and I had no pots to wash – a win-win! You’ll also get to teach a little science, thanks to the different tones the drums make.

Paper Cup Drums (1)

First, set out 2 large paper cups and 2 small ones. Cut one large cup and one small cup in half, leaving the others whole – great scissor practice!

Paper Cup Drums (2)

Travis decorated the cups next, using marker on the outside and then coloring inside them, too, which I wouldn’t have thought of!

Paper Cup Drums (4)

We glued down our drums as a “drum set” on a piece of cardboard, then waited for the glue to set.

Paper Cup Drums (3)

Once dry, it was time to play! Use a spoon to tap on the “drums” – first we just enjoyed the sounds.

Paper Cup Drums (5)

But to be more educational about it, I asked Travis what difference he noticed between the big cups and small ones. Tapping first one, then the other, he could hear the difference – a low tone, then a high tone.

Paper Cup Drums (6)

I challenged him to guess how the medium cups would compare. Lower or higher than the big? He initially guessed lower, but then amended his guess once we played the tone. Interestingly, your intact small cup and cut-in-half big cup should now be nearly the same size, and thus sound quite alike.

Paper Cup Drums (7)

Note: We originally tried using a metal spoon, but found that the difference in cup size/tones was much more apparent when tapping with a plastic spoon.

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Thanks for the musical play, High Five!


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