Music is soothing. Music is comforting. What’s also comforting and soothing (in addition to other benefits) is being outside. Especially during the summer months, letting your kids get outside and use their imagination is very beneficial – and one way to introduce more fun to your backyard is by building a music wall.
You might be reading this and thinking “wait a minute…what’s a music wall?”
Some of us were quite familiar with them growing up, and others may be entirely new to the concept. That’s the entire purpose of this blog: to introduce you to the magic of a DIY backyard music wall, and how to build one for your children. Spoiler alert: they will absolutely fall in love with it, and the process involved in bringing it to life. If you build it together, you can also enjoy it together.
From an educational standpoint, there are so many good things about a music wall. You can teach kids about recycling, about the different purposes each item serves (both on the music wall and in its traditional form, like a soup pot for example), and how to entertain themselves in a new and engaging way.
You may hear a music wall referred to as a “sound garden,” or vice versa, and the two concepts are quite similar. Most importantly, though, we’re finding a new activity for kids to take part in while outdoors and using their creative juices – which is great for cognitive, emotional and physical development!
Let’s get started.
Materials you’ll need
Long story short: you can use any materials you want to build a DIY music wall or sound garden in your backyard. There are no rules. No limits. Whatever you can find around the house or in the garage that is safe for kids and makes a noise, go for it.
- String or cord
- Small hammer
- Small nails
Also, let the kids explore with you and find things that interest them – oftentimes, that’s the best way to make sure what you’re building has their full attention. After all, we’re building this music wall for them!
The Best Musical “Utensils” For Your Backyard Music Wall
The kids need something to make noise with, right?
Here are a few easy-to-find and budget-friendly ideas to start with.
Old wooden drumsticks
Was Mom or Dad a drummer back in their day? Or, does a drum set collect dust in the basement or storage unit? Those drumsticks come in handy when you’re building a DIY music wall with the kids. Dust ‘em off, give ‘em a quick wash with warm water, and let the kids have at it and feel like a true musician.
Play plastic drumsticks
A lot of kids had (or have) playsets for music, and the kid-friendly plastic drumsticks are great for your outdoor music wall! They’re soft, make a great sound, and younger kids can’t wait to bang them on pots, pans, plastic pipes or whatever else you’ve set up on your music wall. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the actual music wall materials in a moment.
If your house is like our house (not pointing fingers, just saying)…you have way too many kitchen utensils. The drawers are overflowing with spatulas, slotted spoons, whisks and anything else that’s accumulated over the years. Well, this is the perfect time to put those spare wooden spoons to good use.
The same applies here! Whisks are a bit lighter and make less noise, but they’re a fun alternative to wooden spoons or drumsticks – and even more fun if you give a kid the wooden spoon in one hand, and the whisk in the other. It’s harmony like you’ve never heard before, and they will be captivated by the variation in sounds they can make.
Don’t have drumsticks or spare kitchen utensils? A pack of chopsticks from your favorite carryout will do the trick. Now, with a bit of effort, they can break…so make sure you have backup chopsticks at the ready.
The Best Materials For Your Outdoor Music Wall
Alright, it’s showtime. Let’s build that music wall and start by finding the best components. Most of them are already in your house, or easily procured at a local hardware store.
Kitchen pots and pans
These are the most popular items for an outdoor music wall. They make a booming noise, and depending on the material (stainless steel, cast iron, copper, etc.) the kids will experience a difference in the sound. A “pro tip” for your outdoor music wall build: use pots and pans of different materials, if you have them, to diversify the experience.
Empty flower pots
Whether your spare flower pots are made of terracotta, ceramic or plastic, they’re a great addition to your kids’ music wall. Again, you will get different sounds and experiences from each, which only makes the wall more engaging for your little ones!
Empty wine bottles
Alright, so you went through a few bottles of Chardonnay. No big deal. Even better news: they’re perfect for the DIY music wall that you’re building. Tear the labels off, remove the corks, and mount them or hang them from the wall as you choose.
Muffin tins and other baking supplies
The possibilities are truly endless! Baking racks, upside-down muffin tins, baking sheets, bundt cake pans…whatever you have in the kitchen will work. Ideally, you will use items of different shapes and sizes so your kids get a wide variety of sounds and musical experiences.
PVC or plastic pipe
Whether it’s from a previous household project or a “finder’s keepers” situation (we won’t tell anyone), PVC or plastic pipe makes for a great addition to your DIY music wall. Compared to metal, stainless steel or ceramic, the plastic makes a much different sound and is a great change-up as your kids make their way around the music wall. Remember: the best music walls have a variety of materials, shapes and sizes – so don’t be afraid to experiment with all kinds of materials and find what works best.
How to build an outdoor music wall
Are you feeling inspired yet? We sure hope so! Building a music wall for kids is one of the most rewarding home projects you can take on, and the true payoff comes when you see your littles ones laughing, smiling and making musical magic with what you’ve put together.
Like we mentioned before, this is as much of a “blank canvas” project as you want it to be. There’s no right way to build a music wall, and there’s no wrong way to do it, either. What matters is that you build it with your kids and get them involved early, beginning with selecting materials and then planning the actual build.
As far as the build goes, you have some options to get started.
Using an existing fence
Obviously, to build a music wall you’re going to need…a wall. Most people who build a DIY music wall use a backyard fence to serve as the actual wall. Fences, especially if they’re wooden, are easy to fasten or secure items to and they won’t get damaged. Most of the items we’ve listed in the “materials” section have handles, and the best way to affix them to your music wall is to use a small nail and have that serve as the connection to the wall. If you’re using wine bottles, you can use a screw or slightly thicker nail and use the bottle’s mouth to rest on the nail/screw.
Using an existing wall
This is especially beneficial if you already have a backyard swing set (wink, wink…nudge, nudge). If you don’t have one, we recommend getting one. And we know some people who know a thing or two about the best swing sets in the business.
If you’re not following along…we’re talking about ourselves. Anyhow.
A climbing wall, “rock wall” or game wall that already exists on your backyard swing set is a great place to start building a music wall. When you’re done with the music wall, you can take it down just as easily as you set it up.
Creating a new wall
This is for the hands-on or adventurous folks out there. You can build your own wall, with basically any material you have on-hand. While this will make the DIY music wall build take a little bit longer, it’s another opportunity to involve your kids and make this a true bonding experience. They will enjoy seeing the project get off the ground and come to fruition right in front of their eyes. Pro tip: just make sure your DIY wall is secured to a sturdy structure.
Outdoor music wall ideas
Once you’ve completed your DIY music wall build, the fun is only beginning.
Add a music wall to your classroom
Teachers! Having a music wall in the classroom is a fun activity for every kid, and just like at home, they can find their own instruments or items to make noise. Not only is it something different, but there are numerous benefits (as mentioned above in the blog) that will help the students’ development.
Have a concert with the family
What a great way to get everyone together – and get them involved – wouldn’t you say? You can break the family up in two “bands” if you have a big crew, or for smaller families, you can work together and play for the neighbors or for other family members. Whatever you decide, the most important thing is that you’re doing it together.
Teach kids about the use for each element of the wall
In the context of the music wall itself, your kids will likely view each item as a noise-making instrument (and that’s totally fine). Outside of that, though, it’s a great idea to walk them through each element of the wall and tell them more about it. What does the skillet do? What does a baking sheet do? Where did all of these wine bottles come from? Okay, maybe leave that part out.
Learn songs to play on the music wall
Nursery rhymes, childhood favorites, show tunes…you name it. Our advice is to keep it simple and let the kids recreate some of their favorite songs on the DIY music wall in your backyard.
Let’s get started building a music wall
So, there you have it! Building a DIY music wall for the kids is not only a ton of fun, but it’s also educational and will help with important skill development no matter their age.
With a few household items and some inexpensive add-ons from the store, you too can create something fun and engaging right in your own backyard…just make sure the kids know about the “quiet hours” rules in your neighborhood.