Ready for some homemade musical fun for the holidays? Time to recycle those little bells you have around the house or pick up a small pack from a local store and make your own jingling bracelets, anklets, belts or jingle sticks for thrifty family fun.
Although most folks think of jingling bells around Christmas time, you can hear them in a variety of folk traditions around the world. They are worn on the wrists and ankles of dancers from India, as part of belly dance clothing and also as part of Native American regalia. You can see them placed around the collars of reindeer up near the Arctic circle or on horses as they pull a “one horse open sleigh”. They seem to make everything they touch more graceful and musical.
Here are some ideas for making your own jingle bells.
WRISTS, ANKLES AND WAIST BELLS
Jingle bells of various sizes are available at practically any craft or sewing store. To make them into anklets or bracelets is simple. For the easiest project, begin with pipe cleaners in your favorite colors and wrap or twist the pipe cleaners stopping at regular intervals to string on a jingle bell. Stop when you’ve created the right length to fit your wrist or ankle. For a waist belt of jingles, keep twisting in more pipe cleaners and adding bells until you’ve reached the desired size.
If you braid or finger-weave (a finger and thumb type of weaving that is a bit like crochet), begin with yarn and string on the bells as you see fit. The result will look and sound great!
The nice thing about bracelets or anklets of bells is that it calls attention to movement. As a child moves his arms or legs or as a toddler dances, they can hear the sound and use their own body or arms or legs as an extension of the music instrument. It’s a great way to feel the beat!
Start with a pencil and place one jingle bell in the middle of a pipe cleaner at the top of your pencil. Fold the two ends of the pipe cleaner down the sides of the pencils and begin to wrap with another pipe cleaner. Every so often, string a bell onto the sides of the pipe cleaner that are hanging down and then continue to wrap the pencil.
And then … play along with Jingle Bells or any of your favorite holiday music.
Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has five cd’s that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her website; located at dariamusic.com, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content. Read more about Daria. Check out Daria’s website for free songs, song lyrics and more fun musical craft activities like this one.