Making wind chimes with kids

By Iris Katers, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl?Anderegg,?

Esther Macalady, Tim?Fox

Are you looking for a windy day project for your young children? Create your own beaded wind chimes to teach patterns, design, and color. Provide fine motor skill practice and another opportunity for conversation.

To design wind chimes help children create a hole in the center of a cottage cheese or margarine plastic lid with a paper punch. Make eight to ten more holes evenly spaced around the outer edge. Help children cut a 12 inch piece of string for each outer hole and a 14 inch piece of string for the center hole. Wrap a piece of tape around one end of each string to make it easier to thread the beads and tie a large bead onto the end of the other string pieces.

Art and Talking

Have an assortment of multi-colored beads and small brass bells available. Your children can experiment with color, size, texture and design as they arrange beads and bells on the strings. Carry on a conversation about the choices they make. You may cut several colorful plastic straws into 1/2 -1 inch pieces to use as spacers between the bells and beads. Leave at least 2 inches on the top of each piece of string. Pull the taped end of each beaded string through a hole in the lid. Tie a big knot on the top to keep the string from sliding through.

Place one large bead on the 14- inch string and thread it through the center hole in the lid. The bead will be on the underside of the lid to keep the string in place. This is the string you will use to hang the chimes. Find a sheltered spot outside or inside near a window. Enjoy the melody! Extend the activity by making additional wind chimes out of driftwood, seashells, spoons, or recycled items.

Wind Science

As you are working, talk with your children about the wind. What is it? What makes it blow? Has there been strong wind lately? Wind is moving air. When warm air rises, cool air moves in and takes it place. This moving air makes the wind blow.

Before dressing in the morning check trees and flags for signs of wind. Go outside and feel the wind, dance with the wind and see what moves with the wind. Paint a picture or write a poem to describe your experience. Then go to the library and look for books about wind. In his book, “Like a Windy Day,” beloved children’s author, Frank Asch, sends a young girl soaring, tumbling and twirling on her own exciting windy day adventure. Renee Schwarz offers other wind-powered crafts in her book, “Wind Chimes and Whirligigs.”