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Sharing World Cultures Through Musical Crafts


I am thrilled to be featuring guest writer, award-winning children’s performer, DARIA. Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou has seven 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, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its rich variety of music and cultural content.

Sharing World Cultures Through Musical Crafts


If you are exploring a new location on the globe you can check out it’s geography, language, food, dance or even the type of games that children of that country like to play. I love to learn about new cultures through their music, musical instruments and favorite celebrations. Here are some easy crafts that create musical instruments you can use to learn more about some of our neighbors around the world.

A Chinese Style Gong

If you bang a gong – everyone stops to listen! There are some stories about ancient Chinese gongs that claim they could be heard hundreds of miles away and were used to call farmers back from the fields. If you have a used roasting pan or pie tin, yarn or pipe-cleaners and a stick or wrapping paper tube, you can make your own version of this instrument at home.

How can you decorate it? Take some time to study Chinese lettering and calligraphy or motifs such as dragons. And, if you check out the instruction pdf below, there’s a chart of the Chinese Zodiac so you can look up the animal that represents the year you were born. Are you a rat, a pig or an ox? Look up your birth year to find out!

Create a Homemade Chinese Gong

jingle ankletDance With Indian Ankle Bells

If you’ve ever seen Indian dance or a movie from Bollywood, you‘ve probably been amazed by the beautiful costumes, unique music and special hand, foot and eye movements of the dancers. The special ankle bells worn help to accent fancy footwork. You can make a simple version of this craft that ties like an anklet or a more complex version that resembles Indian Gunghroo bells. These attach to the feet through a small strip of velcro and sound great as a child moves around and dances.

Use this easy craft as a way to study the regions of India or other types of folk dance found around the world.

Make Your Own Ankle Bells

three guiros one homemadeExplore Rhythms With A Latin American Guiro

If you have a plastic bottle with ridges and an unsharpened pencil, hair pick or chopstick, you can make a great working version of a Latin American guiro. The rasp – the object that rolls over the ridges – moves back and forth creating great patterns and rhythms. You can play while you sing or use your new instrument to accompany music from this region.

Where do guiros come from? This type of instrument can be found in a multitude of cultures, but is most often heard as part of the traditional music in Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and many of the Latin American countries.

Make and Play a Guiro

shekeres recycledShake An African Shekere!

Most historians think that shekeres originated in West Africa. They quickly became so popular they can now be found in almost every country in Africa and all around the world. As the instrument travels from country to country in Africa: its name, shape, and manner of playing change slightly. You can explore a variety of African cultures, folklore and folk music at the same time you made your own simple version of his versatile and wonderful instrument.

I hope that we inspired you today! We love music!



A Little More about Daria: With over 2 decades in children’ s music and multicultural education, Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou has earned a variety of awards for contributions to the fields of arts and education. Her website introducing children to world music was given a 2009 Parent’s Choice Award for its resources for teachers, students and homeschoolers. She actively contributes content on the web and writes for various blogs including Wonder Baby (for disabled children), KinderArt, Hilltown Families, Making Multicultural Music and Tiny Tapping Toes.

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