Drink it in

When you use glasses of water as musical instruments, your child learns about pitch.

By Paul Bakeman, consulting educator

With this fun and simple activity, your child can practice playing a familiar tune and might even create her own song.

What you'll need

How to do it

Fill the glasses with different levels of water and tap on them with a spoon. Help your child to discover what happens when water is added or taken away. She should realize that when water is added the pitch goes up, and when water is taken away the pitch goes down.

Using trial and error, find the water levels that produce notes to simple three-note songs like "Hot Cross Buns" or "Merrily We Roll Along (Mary Had a Little Lamb)." Once you've found the notes, color the water with food coloring using three different colors, one for each glass.

Now your child can be a composer. Help her create her own songs by writing down a series of dashes on a piece of paper, using three magic markers whose colors match the colors in the glasses. After some practice, gather the family and have a water glass xylophone concert!

Paul Bakeman is a music teacher in Virginia and a Teacher of the Year award winner.