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Makerspace

DIY Kazoo – Start Your Own Band

This is a humdinger for future Mozarts—they may never put down their new kazoo!

  • 1 /5
    Difficulty
  • 6+
    For Ages
  • $5
    Expense

Directions

  • 1 Cut a strip of construction paper the size of one popsicle stick and layer it on top of the stick.
  • 2 Cut two toothpicks to size—they should match the width of the stick.
  • 3 Line up each toothpick on top of the paper (which is still on top of the stick), placing each one about an inch from each end. Place the other popsicle stick on top, like a sandwich.
  • 4 Tie each end of your new ‘instrument’ with rubber bands, placed slightly inside the toothpicks. Hum, don’t blow!

The Sci Behind the DIY

Okay, this fun fact is too gross not to share: The first kazoos were made of hollowed-out bone (taking the place of your popsicle stick) and the delicate membrane of spider egg sacs (we substituted construction paper, you can thank us later).

Surely the kookiest of all instruments, the kazoo is a close cousin of the harmonica, which is why (as per usual!) we had a hard time determining what to call this hack. We’ll argue a harmonica is a bit more elegant, but you can call this whatever you want.

Real kazoos and harmonicas use strips, or reeds, that vibrate when you breathe – and they make sound through vibration. Technically, your popsicle stick creations aren’t actually making their own sound, merely an extension of sound. An extension of your own voice, actually. That’s why it’s so important to hum, not blow! You can change the pitch of your harmonica by pinching the ends of the popsicle stick. This changes the position of the construction paper inside the two sticks, which affects its rate of vibration, changing the sound.

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