I’m a band geek and proud of it!
Some of my fondest memories were goofing off in the back row with the other low brass players as we sat counting a ridiculous amount of rests.
I’ve played French horn, tenor sax, flute and a handful of others, though I really only had any skill at playing the horn.
Before my boys were even born, I knew I wanted them to love the team sport that band and orchestra can be. From an early age, I exposed them to classical pieces and took them to see concerts. I even let them mess around with my sadly neglected instruments that had been collecting dust.
One of the reasons I love homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way is the emphasis on beauty; through literature, poetry, art, nature, and music.
I wanted to challenge my boys to hone their musical ear and start to identify musical instruments from their timbre (their unique sound).
Thank you to Safari LTD for sponsoring this post and supplying us with the super awesome mini instrument figures. They have figures for every interest imaginable and the learning and play opportunities are endless! They’ll even bring out the inner child in you! This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
This activity is super easy to put together. All you need is…
Instruments (We used this Musical Instruments TOOB from Safari LTD.)
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Music (Something that features a bunch of different instruments. Peter and the Wolf is a great place to start!)
Optional: Video of the music being played, speakers. I used my phone and these Bluetooth Speakers.
If your child doesn’t already know, instruct them on the names of each of the instruments. Our toob had a clarinet, trumpet, flute, trombone, French horn, saxophone, violin, and guitar (though my four year old insisted it was a cello.)
If you or your child is new to identifying instruments, try listening to a solo piece by a particular instrument. Ask your child to describe how its sound makes them feel. If that instrument’s sound were a color, what would they imagine it to be? If that instrument was an animal, what would it be?
The goal is for your child to get to know each instruments’ sound as if it were one of their friends.
Once they are familiar with the instruments, it’s time to play a full orchestrated piece and see if they can pick out the instruments.
The easiest version of this is to let them watch a live recording. Typically the camera man will zoom in on the instrumentalist that has a solo. When the child recognizes the instrument, they find the figure among the toys, hold it up and name it.
If your child is ready to be challenged, use just a sound recording and ask your child to identify the instrument from sound alone. This can be a blast!
I usually still have the visual movie going somewhere off to the side so we can check if we’re right. My kids love it when I get it wrong!
Another fun little activity you can do with your toob figures is to let your kids “play” the instruments. My boys love to hum and mimic the timbre of the instruments they’re holding.
This can quickly turn into a wacky duet!
Give your children a way to explore the wonderful world of the orchestra with these realistic toob figures!