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hand holding a plastic bottle with sticks and rocks inside in front of green plants Let’s Make Music: DIY Nature Walk Instrument

Nature is full of materials you can use to make simple musical instruments.

This activity is pulled from our Virtual ExCEL Camps happening summer of 2020! While these activities are written to fit into the larger lesson plan of the camp themes, you can complete them with your little one at any time. Learn more about our Virtual ExCEL Summer Camp here!

Appropriate Age Range: 5 years of age and up 

Materials Needed:

  • empty plastic bottle with a large opening at the top
  • collected items of your choice including small stones, seeds, or acorns (make sure it’s small enough to fit into the bottle!)

an empty bottle next to some rocks, shells, and sticks


Try looking these words up if your child is unfamiliar with them: rhythm, acorn, seeds, stones, pine cones, plastic bottle


Take a walk! While out on your nature walk collect small stones, seeds, acorns, small pine cones, or other things and place them in your empty plastic bottle. Fill the bottle no more than about half full.  Then shake them around to hear what different sounds you can make. Try adding things in and taking things out of your bottle? Do different materials make different sounds? How are the sounds different? Why do you think that is?

sticks, shells, and stones inside a bottle



Stick drum set: find a couple of sticks and bang them together, or against a hollow log, or a tree stump.  Create simple rhythm patterns and have a partner repeat it.  

Bird watching/listening: take your monocular and spot birds, listen to birds, and then research what birds you saw or heard on your walk or in your backyard. Find more bird listening and watching activities here!

Make hiking trail granola bars or trail mix. 



Leslie McNeil, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments 

Leslie McNeil worked at the Georgia Academy for the Blind as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired.  While there she was a camp instructor for summer camps and weekend camps.  She also taught in the after school program for enrichment activities for students.  Currently, she is one of the Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments for Columbia County School district in Georgia.  

Jessica Kaminski, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments 

Jessica Kaminski is one of the Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments for the Columbia County School district in Georgia. During her thirteen years of teaching, she has worked by providing extended school year services or as an instructor for Camp All-Stars for children with special needs. 

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