Pan Pipes

groverGet your Grover on with these simple pan pipes necklaces! I designed them for a large-scale Lightning Thief event (you can read more about the event, and our awesome Mythomagic deck here). The pipes were part of a “Pan Pipes & Pythagoras” table hosted by Music Together Princeton Lab School. Since we needed to create several hundred sets of pan pipes (event attendance was around 5,000) I needed something inexpensive that would give kids a little taste of tone and pitch.

I considered PVC pipe, empty marker tubes, empty pen tubes…but they were either too expensive, impractical, too hard to cut, couldn’t produce a satisfactory sound, or required way too much prep time. Happily, the solution came when I stopped by Fruity Yogurt, a local frozen yogurt place. In addition to soft serve, Fruity Yogurt does bubble tea, which naturally comes with a bubble tea straw.

strawsBubble tea straws are thicker than your average drinking straw. I tested a few and they were perfect! Not to mention inexpensive and they come in jolly colors!

You’ll need:

  • At least 4 bubble tea straws
  • A small craft stick (for a 4-straw set of pipes, you’ll need a 3″ craft stick)
  • A 28-29″ piece of yarn
  • A ruler
  • A Sharpie permanent marker
  • Scissors and tape for construction

Start by folding the bottom of each straw up and taping it very tightly (some bubble tea straws have pointed bottoms – you can trim the point off if you’d like).

taped straw Place the folded straw next to a ruler, and use a permanent marker to mark the desired  length of the straw. I cut my straws in 0.5″ increments. So the first straw was 5″, the second straw was 4.5″, the third straw was 4″, and the fourth straw was 3.5″.

marked straw I did some experimenting with how long or how short a straw can be before it starts losing its tone. Based on my experiments, I wouldn’t go any longer than 7.5″ and no shorter than 2.5″. Beyond those lengths, the straws seem to lose their ability to hold a note.

Next, knot the yarn on both ends of the craft stick, and reinforce the knots with tape.

attached yarnLine all your straws next to each other in ascending order. Make sure the top (i.e. the open ends) of the straws are even with one another. Secure them with a piece of tape.

taped pipesThen flip the pipes over and tape the craft stick on the other side! Done!

finished pipes

Monster Dance Party

monster feetDancing isn’t just for the petite-footed! Throw a MONSTER dance recital with giant feet and a rosy reward!

We read Giant Dance Party, written by Betsy Bird, illustrated by Brandon Dorman (Greenwillow Books, 2013). After freezing up at a number of recitals, dance-loving Lexy declares that she’s quitting dancing and is going to TEACH dancing instead. Her only customers, however, are five furry blue giants. With some coaching, coaxing, and channeling of their inner talents, Lexy whips the giants into shape. But when the big recital arrives, the giants are frozen with stage fright. It’s up to Lexy to overcome her own fears and show the giants how it’s done.

You’ll need:

  • 2 boxes (mine were 4 ½” X 4 ½” x 9” but you can also use two large tissue boxes)
  • 6 rectangles of tagboard (mine were 2.75″ x 5.5″)
  • 6 pieces of self-adhesive foam (mine were 1.75″ x 2.25″)
  • Strips of colored construction paper (approximately 2.5″ x 12″)
  • A selection of colored tissue paper squares (mine were 4″)
  • 2 white paper lunch bags
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • Bubble wrap or sheets of tissue paper to stuff in giant feet
  • 1 strip of red crepe paper streamer (approximately 13″)
  • 1 green pipe cleaner
  • A few inches of gold curling ribbon (optional)
  • Dance music
  • Markers for decorating
  • White glue, scissors for construction
  • Hot glue

Feet first! Cut a rounded opening in the lids of both boxes. Make sure the back of your heel touches the back of the box.

cut footNow for toes! Round the short edge of each tagboard rectangle. Then, shape the self-adhesive foam like toenails and stick them on each toe. You can use markers to draw some hair on the toes as well.

toesNext, hot glue the toes to the underside of the box. One kid went with a “toe-on-top-of-the-box” option and I quite liked the results.

toes on topTime to decorate! We offered strips of fringed construction paper (best secured with tape) and tissue paper squares (best secured with white glue). For maximum results with the tissue paper, crumble it up, dab some glue on the box, and then press the crumble onto the glue.

decorating the feetI also unearthed some lizard-patterned paper from the art supply closet. Behold the creative coordination skills demonstrated below!

coordinated skirtWhen the giant feet are finished, set them aside to dry a little and turn your attention to your giant socks. Cut the bottoms off the two white paper lunch bags, then decorate the bags with markers. Socks done!

To get dressed, start by slipping your shoe through the paper bag sock and pushing the sock up your calf. Then slide your shoe into the giant foot and stuff bubble wrap (or sheets of tissue paper) around your shoe to make the giant foot more snug. Tuck the sock into the giant foot and wrap some colored masking tape around the sock to secure it. You’re ready to dance!

sample feetRoses after a performance are traditional, so I prepped a bunch of paper roses to give to the dancers. This rose-making technique was developed by Victoria Hoss, one of my student assistants. Grab the crepe paper streamer on one end, then curl the outside edge inward. This forms the inner “core” of the rose.

rose step 1Keeping the bottom of the rose pinched, repeatedly wrap the paper around the inner core.

rose step 2When the paper is all wrapped, release the pinched bottom of the rose slightly and insert a green pipe cleaner in the center.

rose step 3Pinch the base around the pipe cleaner, and wrap tightly with green masking tape.

rose step 4I had some gold curling ribbon in the art cabinet, so I added a little flair to the finished rose (because a curly sparkly gold bow is ALWAYS a good thing in my book).

finished roseOnto the recital! We danced to Polly Wolly Doodle (from the Dan Zanes album Rocket Ship Beach). As the kids danced, I handed out roses. But apparently, these feet were also made for walking…

off to explore