With the excessive amount of sibling bickering my husband and I have seen at home lately, I decided to embark on a much-needed lesson about harmony for our 7-year old and 4-year old.
Taking inspiration from one of my favorite sites, kidsofintegrity.com, I kicked off our lesson with a craft project that the children had to complete together with minimal assistance.
Using mostly recycled materials and armed with a single set of tools, the children were ‘forced’ to work together to create a guitar and some shakers which they could then use to play in their own harmony band.
Here’s a list of the craft tools and general materials we used:
- An empty tissue box
- 4-6 Rubber bands
- 2 used toilet rolls
- 4 balloons
- Corn kernels (or green/red beans, rice)
- Colored Paper
To make the guitar, my 7-year old began by cutting out a rectangle out from the top of the tissue box.
I gave the kids free room to decorate their guitar with one instruction: do it together. And they happily obeyed, working together to decorate their guitar.
To complete making the guitar, the kids strapped the rubber bands around the box and over the hole on the top.
That done, the kids got started on creating their shakers. Each took responsibility for decorating one roll.
Once done, we cut the top part of the balloon off, and covered one end of the toilet roll with it. A rubber band was looped at the bottom to ensure the ‘fillings’ of the shaker wouldn’t spill out!
My 4-year old helped to fill a quarter of the roll with corn kernels, while his elder sister helped to cover the other end of the toilet roll with another balloon top. If you don’t have corn kernels at home, substitute it with anything you think would make a good sound – like rice or green beans.
With the focus on completing a craft together, the children were able to spend at least an hour without petty bickering. It was such a delight to see them have fun creating something together in harmony.
Before they went off to use their new, handmade musical instruments, we had a short discussion on the experience of working together. By having to share tools and making a concerted effort to agree on how to embellish their craft pieces, the children learnt the importance of cooperation. They also practiced patience and using encouraging words with one another. Most importantly, they had fun!
It was a great time of bonding and building up the relationship between siblings, and a handy lesson I intend to use regularly from now on!
Sue-Ann is a mother of two (with another on the way). She enjoys nothing better than daydreaming of new ways for her family to take the stress out of living busy city lives. Her children, Rainbow Sky and Chubs Salami – nicknames they gave themselves – are 7 and 4.