It was a typical Sunday Morning. My 3 year-old was playing with trains in his room. I was getting ready to make french toast. The area next to the stove is normally a drain board, so to make room for my bread slices and batter, I moved the drying mat, utensils etc. onto the kitchen table.
I had just started frying when I heard a sound. *TING* Then another sound. *Whap* Then a series. Whap TING TING whap TING TING. I turned around and seated at the table is a rather resourceful young percussionist. With chop-drumsticks and an array of containers and bowls as different sounding toms and cymbals, he played for twenty minutes straight until food was ready. And then a full concert after breakfast. All while the new baby slept in the next room. And it wasn’t super loud...it was as he said, “Kitchen Drums.”
I didn’t devise a creative drum set. I was just preparing to cook. My son’s imagination did the rest. When it happened, I could have said “No,” or “That’s not for drumming,” but he was being safe - there were no sharp objects - so why not let him play? I celebrated the discovery and let him dig in, really getting to explore his creation. So many different materials and sounds to be freely rearranged, patterned, memorized, adapted or whatever. He was firing on all cylinders! How many times as a parent or teacher can we say, "Let me just stay out of the way here?" Our environment and materials are often the best teachers in the room.
Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colours.
- Loris Malaguzzi
These days, we keep a bowl of kitchen drums at the ready.
Like great works of art, the greatest learning and discovery come from unique circumstances. Since every family and every classroom is unique, who knows what discoveries and creations will be revealed. Provide safe and open-ended materials, and let the budding innovators take it from there!
Dan Costello is the co-Founder and Creative Director of Yo Re Mi.