Music in the garden


Find out how to make music in the garden using natural materials

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Explore how natural material can make different sounds
  • Observe how the size of an object alters the sound that it makes


Make sure there are enough sticks in the garden for the activities. Bamboo canes may be useful to use as drumming sticks. Make sure sharp points have been removed from sticks.


  • A selection of sticks, bamboo canes and logs
  • Secateurs, loppers or bow saws (used with adult supervision)
  • Spades or trowels
  • A large container to store sticks safely in

Step by step

  1. Demonstrate how tapping sticks against different surfaces in the garden can make a drumming sound.
  2. Ask students to look for sticks and investigate the different sounds they can make.
  3. Explain how a bigger sound can be made by digging a hole and covering it with sticks to create a natural xylophone.
  4. Carefully dig out a pit using spades and use loppers or bow saws to cut sticks to different lengths.
  5. Lay the different sized sticks over the pit and tap the xylophone with another stick, listening to the different sounds it makes.
  6. A simpler instrument can be made by sawing grooves into a larger stick and rubbing a smaller stick up and down. This is called a guiron or scraper instrument.

Hints & tips

  • String up old pots and pans from a tree to make an outdoor musical instrument.
  • Remember to warn people there are musical instruments in the area, so they don't walk into the pots or fall down the xylophone pit.
  • This activity is part of Sensory Sensations class growing topic

We've won awards!

Winner of the Drum Marketing Awards 2017
Winner of the ERA 2017 awards
Winner of the Third Sector 2017 awards