It's time for Light & Reflections again! This month's theme is music and movement and well, music is kind of my specialty. We have done many music themed activities using light in the past, including music matching on the light table, music play on the overhead projector, and rainbow drums on the light table. However, I wanted to switch things up and move away from the light table for this month's post. Instead, I created a giant homemade glow-in-the-dark floor piano using glow sticks. Lots and lots of glow sticks!
My inspiration for this activity was the 80s movie Big. You know, the one where Tom Hanks plays a giant floor piano. Yeah, totally awesome inspiration, right? Well, ours doesn't light up or make a sound when you step on a key, but it was still fun and presented lots of learning opportunities for the boys.
Another bonus, at least for me, is that the giant floor piano can then be used in my piano studio as a
hands-on feet-on approach to learning the notes of the piano keyboard. I know that my beginner piano students will have a blast using the giant floor piano to practice finding piano keys.
Enough about that though. You want to know how to make it, right? Of course, you do!
How to Make the Giant Floor Piano
I used an off-white shower curtain, but a white sheet would work well too. I then folded the sheet in half lengthwise and sewed the two short ends. I left the long edge open so that I could create pockets for the glow sticks.
Once I sewed the two short edges, I turned the shower curtain inside out so that the seams would be hidden inside the piano.
Next, I measured out eight piano keys. The width of each key was 8.5". Then I sewed along the width of each key using black thread. Just as a reminder, the bottom of the piano was left open so you should be left with little pockets for inserting the glow sticks.
To make the black keys, I used three sheets of black felt. I cut each sheet in half lengthwise. I then hot glued the felt into the appropriate places. You could also sew the black keys, if you prefer, but at this point, I was tired of dealing with the slippery shower curtain fabric.
Making a Glow-in-the-Dark Floor Piano
I used about eight packages of glow sticks for our floor piano, but I think it would look even more amazing with even more glow sticks. I bought all the glow sticks at the dollar store for $1 each so the total cost was only $8. I bought a mix of the standard bracelet style glow sticks and the short thick glow sticks. The best part about glow sticks is that you can pop them in the freezer when you're done to use for another occasion, prolonging their life and use. Sweet!
I decided to turn our glowing floor piano into a rainbow, as you can see. I also taped the piano to the floor so that it wouldn't roll or bunch up during play.
The boys started off just running back and forth across the keys of the floor piano. K liked to use it more like a slip and slide by running and sliding on his butt. Summer project perhaps?
After their initial exploration, we did a few different activities. J and I worked together to name the keys of the piano while walking across it.
We then explored the piano by color. I would shout out a color and the boys would jump on the note. I also varied it up a bit by naming a sequence of colors for them to find.
My husband then had the brilliant idea to turn it into a game of twister. J has been working on identifying right versus left hands and feet, so this activity was a perfect way to do that. It also encouraged J to stretch his body into all sorts of weird positions.
Look, my husband even made it into a few pictures on the blog. That's a first and what a "glowing" picture! Haha...Here are a couple of photos of all three boys playing some twister on the glowing floor piano.
And here's my favorite picture of all! I just love the silhouette of J's body against the glowing piano keys.
Glow-in-the-Dark Egg Shakers from Happily Ever Mom
Musical Water Experiments on the Light Table from Still Playing School
Mimicking Movement with Mirrors from Where Imagination Grows
You can find all the posts from this series on the Light & Reflections Series board on Pinterest. Then tune in next month when we focus on springtime. Ah, I cannot wait for it to be spring!