Elementary Music

DIY Music Manipulatives for Centers

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I really love music centers. Like REALLY love music centers. Every time that we do them, I am amazed at how the students seem to grow. Even more than that, I am amazed at how much I notice each individual student and their own abilities.

Now, getting started in centers can be difficult (because seriously, what are the kids supposed to DO?!), and you will need a few activities. And they need to be engaging enough that students will WANT to do said activities. Because we all know that bored students are misbehaving students.

These music manipulative DIY will keep students occupied during centers time! They can be adjusted for different musical concepts.

Need some help getting started with centers? You can check out my blog posts below for help!

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room

1. Lappacks

Have you ever heard of a lap pack? It is basically a fancy words for “papers stuck in a sheet protector“.

Sounds fancy, right?

Lap packs are actually SUPER useful. I have some that are made all the time with heartbeats on one side and treble clef on the other. You can write on them with expo markers, you can use rhythm manipulative on them, or those tiny erasers to put on the staff… The possibilities are basically endless. You can also put a blank sheet of paper in them so that students can write rhythms or answers or lyrics or whatever they could possibly need to write.

And so, so easy.

Also, you can get a ton of FREE heartbeat charts in the Free Resource Library on my site. It includes all different time signatures! Not a member of the free resource library? You can sign up here! You will get one email each week with a roundup of helpful tips, ideaas, and strategies for teaching music, plus access to all of the free resources in the free resource library.

2. Rhythm Spinners

Rhythm spinners are a little bit of a harder DIY music manipulatives, because they require finding the word spinners. These babies were in Target Dollar Spots at the beginning of the year. Annnnnnd I found very similar ones on Amazon! You can get them here. Hurray!

Anyway.

To make rhythm spinners, you paint over the letters on the word spinners. This took me about 4 coats of cheap acrylic to get it so that I could no longer see the letters. Then you write over the letters with rhythms. I just used a sharpie, because I am not very fancy.

And voila! Students can make rhythms and play them on their instrument. You could do dictation and have them find the rhythm that you used. So many ideas.

This idea is from Katie Wonderly, on Instagram as @mswonderlymakesmusic. She is truly wonderful, and has some really great ideas (including more Dollar Spot DIY music manipulatives), so go follow her! (And yes, I asked her permission before I put this on my blog!)

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room

3. Battleship

Battleship is one of my kids’ favorite activities. I pull this out when we first talk about the treble clef, and a few times after. It is always tons of fun.

I have a blog post that goes really in depth into it here, so I’ll keep it short in this one. Basically, you need a paper with two staves. Slide in into a sheet protector. Then staple or glue it into a file folder (that way students can shield their answers).

To read how the kids play, go check out the post here!

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room

4. Rhythm Manipulatives

Need more REALLY simple DIY music manipulatives? This rhythm one is so. stinking. easy.

Print out pictures or clipart (you can find tons of free clipart on TPT!). It is best to stick with a theme, so you could do fruits or instruments or whatever. Write the rhythm of the word on the picture. So, for example, “kiwi” would be “titi” (barred eighth notes). Or two eighth notes, depending on how many beats you want.

Then let the kids create compositions with their words!

You can also do this with foam shapes that you can get at Dollar Tree or the Dollar Spot, but I have a hard time finding the ones that I want. Plus, they rip easier than laminated paper.

You can see what I mean with my Christmas Rhythm Manipulatives and Flashcards on TPT.

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room

So there you have it– four easy, cheap DIY music maniulatives for centers! Need some help getting started with centers? You can check out my blog posts below for help!

What are your favorite DIY music manipulatives? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room

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