Exploring xylophones in preschool

I love to collect all sorts of musical instruments and found these wonderful little xylophones (and triangles) at Target in their Dollar Spot last year…

I introduced the xylophones to the children during our morning circletime…

Each child had their own xylophone to explore and we started by playing a xylophone game together. I called out a color and all the children would find that color and tap it on their xylophone until a new color was called…

Then we played a few simple tunes on our xylophones together and set them aside. The children had plenty of opportunities to explore the xylophones on their own throughout the week…

To extend our xylophone experience, we explored a little xylophone science too. This is a process that I have used often over the years and it is always a big hit! First, I began by setting out five mason jars and a pitcher of water.  We talked about how each jar should have a different amount of water in them so that when we tapped on the sides, they would each have a different sound. The children took turns adding water to our jars…

The children watched closely to help each other estimate how much water should be added to each jar so that there would be a just the right amount in each jar. If it looked like too much water or not enough water was being added, the children would definitely let the others know…

Once we were satisfied that each jar had a different amount of water, we made sure they were all lined up from empty to full and then selected one child to give each jar a little tap so we could hear the sounds of each jar. As the child tapped each jar, we talked about how each jar sounded differently using words like “pitch, higher, lower, more, and less”…

I have seen lots of other bloggers share their versions of water jars and most of them added food color to the water which made lovely displays of colorful water jars to tap.  Had I had the time, I would have added color to our jars too but I must say that the children absolutely loved the process of setting the jars out, filling them up with water, then tapping them (even without the color) so perhaps in the future, we can add the color as a way to add a new step to the process…

Once we had a chance to listen and briefly discuss the sounds of the jars, the children all had a chance to tap the jars together…

Oh my, did the children love tapping those jars. We left the jars out for the children to come back for an individual chance to play the water jars as well…

In my next post, I will share with you our xylophone art!

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Rainbow water xylophones from Chasing Cheerios

Xylophone X from No Time for Flashcards

Rainbow water xylophones from Rustic Remnants

X is for Xylophone, Xrays, X relay, X pretzels from Cows go Moo, and Ducks go Quack

Xylophones and Outdoor Music from Child Central Station

Paper Roll Xylophones from Mini Cuties

By |2012-07-13T07:00:38+00:00July 13th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Scott July 13, 2012 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Love those xylophones. That Target dollar area is a dangerous place for me. (But I missed these. Hmm. Guess I need to go more often?)

  2. Mud Hut Mama July 13, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

    What a great idea. My girls love playing with their xylophone and I’m sure they will love making their own!

  3. Karen @ PreKinders.com July 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    I stocked up on a bunch of the triangles when they had them in the dollar spot. I like them better than the more expensive ones sold in the ed catalogs because of the ribbon tied to a hole through the metal. The ribbon doesn’t slip off like the other kind. 🙂

  4. Asaf Ophir September 3, 2017 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Great ideas! I wonder: How long does the jar experiment typically go for?

    • Deborah Stewart September 3, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      We left ours out for about a week.

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