Where does your love of music come from (assuming you have one!)? Your childhood. Let’s go further – ask a musician how it all began and they’ll tell you: there was an old piano at my aunt’s house when I was a kid…and such stories. Most of our talents and abilities begin when we are children. When we did something for the first time, like play the piano, no-one really taught us what to do. We just tinkered on the keys and became amazed at the sounds that we created. We felt empowered by the sounds, because they were completely at our mercy and control (even if our aunt’s piano was out of tune). And a love for music is something that can be carried with you for the rest of your life. So if you can inspire kids about instruments and the music they create, you will have instilled a lifelong means of enjoyment and entertainment.
So that brings us to an invention idea for kids: get your kids to invent a new instrument. You will be amazed at their resourcefulness in pulling this off. There’s two approaches here. The one is for you to give them completely free reign to go out and find objects and things from which to create an instrument. The other is to provide them with a bunch of objects: sticks, stones, paper, cups, sugar and salt shakers, pepper grinders, you name it. Either way will work. If you have a playground or garden, tell them to go outside and find things that make interesting sounds (if they take you very literally they may start bringing frogs back – so beware!). They can even invent instruments out of their voices by making sounds.
If you have a group of kids, you can form a mini-band with all the instruments they have created. Make sure that everyone gets a chance to perform, even if the resulting sounds seems a bit cacophonous.
This idea teaches creativity and imagination, makes instruments and music seem really fun, and is very easy to do!