If you’re looking for a great way to expand on your Primary Singing Time music supplies, you’ll absolutely love this so easy 5 minute tutorial on how to make sand block instruments! It’s seriously easy, and they’re so fun to bring into the Primary room!
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Sand Block Instruments
What are Sand Block Instruments?
If you haven’t heard of these before, just picture a block of wood with a sheet of sandpaper securely attached. Kids can use these to rub two sand blocks together to make interesting music!
Here’s a set of 2 Sand Blocks on Amazon to give you an idea of the original instrument.
They are such a fun and unique instrument to introduce during Singing Time, but they can also be a bit noisy. And to purchase a set of them may be cost prohibitive, though for a small Primary you might pickup the authentic sand block instruments as I’m sure you’ll get lots of use out of them!
Easy DIY Sand Block Instruments Tutorial
We’re going to make easy DIY Sand Block Instruments today – enough for a whole music room on an extreme budget! I made 15 sets of sand blocks for $1.25 + tax. Even better than that, though, is it didn’t take me more than 5 minutes to create the whole set!
- Pool Noodle (1 per set of 15 sand blocks)
- Bread knife
- Cutting board
- Basket/container to store all your pool noodles!
1. Pool Noodle: I found a variety of colorful fun pool noodles at my local Dollar Tree. Their prices recently went up for $1 to $1.25, but it was still a bargain. I only needed one, but you could grab a few in different colors to add variety.
Or make different themed sets for specific holidays – red and blue for 4th of July, pink and green for Easter, purple and orange for Halloween, etc! How fun would that be!
2. Cut by Length: Now, you’ll just want a bread knife and a cutting board. A bread knife is perfect because the “saw” like serrated edge will easily cut through the pool noodle and makes it no effort at all. I also think it won’t mess up or dull nicer, more expensive knives you may own.
Place the pool noodle on the cutting board and cut the pool noodle approximately every 2 1/2″. You can measure this out ahead of time if you’d like to get them all nice and precise, but they really don’t have to be perfect.
I just made the first cut at roughly the size I was looking for, then used that first cut pool noodle piece as my measuring guide for all the rest of my cuts.
Simply line up the cut piece above the remaining pool noodle and cut along until you’ve cut down the entire length of the pool noodle. This will give you a bunch of mini pool noodles that are still a full circle around, but only about 2 1/2″ tall.
3. Cut in Half: This next step might need a little more care, but really again they don’t have to be perfect! You’ll stand the mini pool noodles up on the flat edge so you see an “O” shape with the center hole facing you.
Now, slice the pool noodle in half so that you create 2 “C” shaped halves each the 2 1/2″ tall. You’ll repeat this step for all of your mini pool noodles, and end up with a full set of sand block instruments!
Each set will fit perfectly together and you can use a rubberband or hair tie to keep them together if you’d like, but even if you mix them together it’s not a big deal if they aren’t perfectly straight.
If you take care to cut perfectly down the center and a straight cut, you’ll end up with pieces that will match really well together, regardless of which was their actual match!
4. “Sand” the pieces together: Finally, there’s just one last step to get them ready for your music time. Rub the two cut edges from your final cut together. Just slide them up and down in opposite directions.
This will help sand down any of the loose pieces and foam bits so they won’t be so messy later. They will still shed little bits of foam now and again, but it’s very minimal. Most of the loose ends will come off with a few good rubs of the sand blocks against each other and they’ll be ready for use!
20 Ideas for How to Use Sand Block Instruments in Singing Time
There are a lot of ways you can use Sand Blocks in Primary! I’ll share some fun ideas here, but also head over to the example singing time posts below to see how to incorporate them when teaching a song for real-life examples!
- Clap the sand blocks together on the beat
- Clap double speed – 2 claps per beat
- Clap half speed – clap once every other beat
- Tap the sand blocks together once per word
- Tap your sand blocks onto the chair or a hymn book
- Clap across to your partner the sand block in your right hand to the sand block in their right hand
- Clap across to a partner with both your sand blocks to both of theirs straight across
- Rub up and down in opposite directions
- Rub the sand blocks together as S-L-O-W-L-Y as you can
- Rub the sand blocks together as FAST as you can
- Rub the back curved side of the sand blocks together. How does the sound change?
- Hold one sand block steady and rub the other up and down against it
- Pat the sand blocks on your lap
- Pat one sand block onto your palm
- Try a sequence like: Pat-Pat-Clap-Clap
- Tap your head with the sand blocks
- Touch your elbow, then switch to the other elbow
- Touch your toes with the sand block instruments
- Toss into the air and catch your sand block
- Rub the sand block across the floor
Example Singing Time Posts Using Sand Blocks!
You’ll love this Stand for the Right Sand Blocks singing time idea! Head over to that post for lots of ideas on how to use sand blocks when teaching a specific song in Primary.
Or, see our Search Ponder and Pray Team Patterns activity that uses paper plates and sand blocks for a fun combined singing time!
For another really fun post, head over to see our I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus Dominoes singing time! This post was actually created with sand blocks in mind and quickly morphed into something fun and unique. But you could absolutely use sand blocks in a similar way!
What fun ways have you used Sand Block Instruments in Singing Time?