Summer Camp: Pop Bottle Music

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Hey, everyone! It is Kendra here from My Insanity. I am excited to get to share a project with you here at Design Dazzle. I got to hang out with Toni a bit when I was in Utah for SNAP! Conference and she really is the nicest! The inspiration for today’s project is from a time in my youth when I really needed something to keep me busy.

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When I was 11-years-old, my family moved to the Dominican Republic while my dad directed a study abroad program there for a year. We didn’t have a television, a telephone (I’m talking no landline, folks!), our basic DOS computer sat in customs for 3 months. And this was well before the age of cell phones and personal electronic devices. Even when we did have amenities, there were rolling power outages in our city on a regular basis, and often with out warning, we would find ourselves without electricity for hours at a time, rendering them useless. It sounds like torture, right?

Actually, I attribute the creative nature of many of my family members, in part, to this experience. With nothing but our imaginations to entertain us, we did crazy things like make Halloween costumes out of black garbage bags, learn to dance the Virginia Reel, make up our own stories and plays, and entertain each other with quality performances like…our famous Pop Bottle concert.

Soda only came in glass bottles in the D.R., so one of the few resources we had in abundance were empty glass bottles. As a musical family, it didn’t take long for us to start blowing into the bottles to see what tones they would make. My older sister, Trina and I quickly became absorbed in our project. We carefully tuned each bottle to the steps of a C major scale. We learned practiced several melodies to play. We even planned wardrobe to resemble the tuxedos concert pianists might wear. We got a cardboard box and covered it with a paper keyboard of our making.

That night we performed our masterpieces for our family. We stepped up to our cardboard box, dramatically cracked our knuckles, and flipped the box off of the table revealing our pop bottle instruments. We then commenced puffing out our duets for our captive audience (remember, our family didn’t have anything else to do).

This is the stuff of memories.

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My SIL brought a big box of Dad’s rootbeer in glass bottles to our Father’s Day dinner this year. I was immediately taken back to my glory days as a pop bottle-ist. And asked if I could keep the bottles for a repeat performance with my own kids.

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This time, I made designed fun, colorful labels to put on each bottle. I teach Let’s Play Music classes, so I designed the colors of the bottle to coordinate with the colors on the tone bells we use for that program. That would make it easy for my children to play melodies they already know.

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If you would like to make your own “POP music” bottles, I recommend filling the bottles with water before adding the labels, since there will likely be a bit of trial and error–adding water and dumping it out, before you get just the right pitch. More water makes a higher tone. Less water makes it lower. After tuning each note, I took a sharpie and wrote the note name on it so I wouldn’t get confused. I printed my labels on full sheet label paper at the copy store. Then just cut them in strips, peeled off the backing and applied them to the bottles.

After adding my labels, it was ready for my young musicians to play!

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This is a great boredom buster and a way to reinforce the music lessons they might be learning on a more traditional instrument!

I am sharing the printable for free with my Facebook friends. If you don’t have a lot of music in your home, here are a few songs to get you started.

Mary Had A Little Lamb











Twinkle Twinkle














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Kendra is a little crazy and documents it all on her blog My Insanity.

You can also catch lots of crazy-good ideas on her Pinterest page, or get a daily dose of insanity on Instagram.

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We are hosting Summer Camp Mon- Fri June 3rd to July 3rd (weekends will be for our regular posts). We are featuring awesome “Camp Counselors” (blogging friends) who have created super fun ideas and activities to help you SURVIVE summer with the kids. Click on the Summer Camp banner to be taken to our Summer Camp series.

Posted on June 28, 2013
Categories: creative ideas, diy tutorials & creative ideas, holiday awesomeness, repurposing, summer camp, summer camp

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  1. Be Inspired PR says:
    June 28, 2013

    Love this idea and sounds like so much fun for the kiddos 🙂

  2. Mariah @Giggles Galore says:
    July 10, 2013

    What a fun activity for the kids to get creative and make their own music!

    • Toni - Design Dazzle says:
      July 11, 2013

      Mariah, I love this too! Cheap, cute and the kids would have a blast. Kendra is very talented musically and creatively!!

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