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Making a Musical Tree

Explore the beautiful fall weather and take your lessons outdoors with this musical adventure from Let's Take It Outside! Children will develop listening skills by differentiating among sounds, will learn to distinguish sounds of varying pitch, and will develop expressive language skills in one fell swoop!



  • Kitchen tools, such as metal pots, pans, and lids, and wooden or metal spoons
  • Lengths of sturdy string or nylon rope


  • Gather a variety of kitchen items.
  • Attach varying lengths of string or rope to the handles of the kitchen items.
  • Select a suitable tree in the playground, and hang the items from the branches. Position the wooden or metal spoons near the pots, pans and lids, or attach the spoons directly to the pans and lids. (The children will be using them as strikers.)

What to Do

  1. Read a book about sounds (see below for suggestions). Talk with the children about the sounds they hear every day.
  2. Encourage the children to experiment with making different sounds by using the spoons to hit the items hanging in the tree.
  3. Ask them to listen carefully and compare how the different items sound. Does the smaller pot make a higher sound than the big pan? Does the pot lid sound different from the baking pan?
  4. Ask them to experiment with hitting the pans quickly and slowly. Explain that the speed at which they hit the pans is called a tempo.
  5. Can the children make up songs to go with their tree music?

Teacher Tip: If possible, leave the items in the tree for the children to explore over and over again. Encourage the children to expand the collection over time and to experiment with more sounds.

Pair This Activity with a Children's Book!

Book Suggestions:

For outdoor adventures that also build skills in areas such as math, literacy and language, science, art, and music, check out Let's Take It Outside! Perfect for children ages 3 to 6, the activities in Let's Take It Outside! combine the magic and excitement of the outdoors with lessons that encourage and support learning!

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