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Making Garden Wind Chimes with Kids

Kids will love making garden wind chimes, hanging them up where they catch the passing breeze and listening to them chiming away.

The sound a wind chime makes depends on the materials chosen, the length and/or size of the objects used, and just how windy it is! Wind chimes create a wonderful peaceful hollow sound and are probably the most relaxing to listen to, while chimes made of ceramics or shells have a higher tone and - I speak from experience - can become rather annoying to hear constantly, yet the kids love them! My solution to that is to encourage the kids to keep the higher toned chimes near their own bedroom window or right down the end of the garden ... anywhere out of my earshot basically!

A lot of the commercially available wind chimes are made of metal which doesn't corrode, but for a simple garden craft project for kids, these are way too complicated and require a number of tools. Older kids (junior school age) will enjoy making bamboo wind chimes, while garden wind chimes made of all sorts of little knick-knacks are perfectly within the ability and interest range of pre-school children.

Making Garden Wind Chimes

You will need: a length of wood, no more than one inch wide and between 6 and 10 inches long (a length of bamboo is best), some string or yarn (not too thick and preferably synthetic as it will last longer), a very small drill, and lots of little knick-knacks.

Suitable objects would include large buttons, tiny plant pots, sea shells, wooden balls, little bells (the type you find on cat collars!), or wooden and ceramic shapes. Most of these are available from craft shops with holes in the middle predrilled, which makes life easier!

Drill holes in objects which are not predrilled (ADULTS ONLY!). For ceramics and sea shells, it is a good idea to put some masking tape over the spot to be drilled as this helps prevent the object from cracking, then use a very small drill piece and slowly drill through.

Find all your materials and lay them out on a table. The aim is to have one length of string dangling from the top piece of wood every inch, so measure your length of wood, and cut pieces of string varying lengths accordingly.

Attach an object to the end of each piece of string. A couple of inches further up the string, tie a knot in the string. Feed the second item down the string until it rests on the knot. Depending on the length of the string, repeat the process every few inches until you are left with approximately 6 inches of clear string at the top.

Repeat the process of adding objects to your wind chime for all lengths of string. While doing this it is fun to 'test' the sounds the different objects make when gently banged together and then try to position those which makes the 'nicest' sound (according to your child!) next to each other on the string.

To fix the string to the wood, either tie the end piece around the top piece of wood and fix tightly with a knot, or drill holes through the wood at 1" intervals and feed the string through them, tieing tightly.

To avoid the string from slipping along the wood or pole, use either a stanley knife or small saw (ADULTS ONLY!) to cut a small grove in the wood for the string to rest in.

Finally the wood needs to be have string attached to either end and tied in a triangle above to hang more or less straight. For normal pieces of wood. The easiest way to do this is to hammer in either a couple of nails to the end of the wood, or srew in little hooks or circles. Attach two pieces of string of equal length to the end of the wood and tie these onto either each other, or better still, a ring. The important bit is that the string has to be of equal length and the hoop, ring or knot has to be directly above the center of the wood.

You can then either hang the ring from a hook, or tie more string to it and dangle it from a branch or similar outside.

And hey presto, your garden wind chime is complete and you can sit back and listen to its wonderful tones :)

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