Build a xylophone in your garden

Make music in your garden with a homemade instrument by building your own xylophone using jars and rocks! 

This guide is part of our Sense Arts, Sport & Wellbeing programme. This activity can be done at a time that suits you, either at home or in an educational setting.

Who is this for?

This is a musical and crafting activity for people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities and can be enjoyed by anyone.

Why does this make a difference?

This is a sensory activity that promotes wellbeing and learning, helping people their senses to connect with their surroundings, exploring touch and sound while supporting independent choice and creativity.

How to do this activity

What you’ll need

  • Jam jars of different sizes
  • Two spoons or sticks
  • Dirt
  • Grass
  • Rocks
  • Leaves
  • Water
  • Stones – or anything else you can find in the garden!

Step 1

Have fun collecting a variety of stones, leaves, grasses, flowers and sticks from around the garden or outdoor space. Then, fill each jar with a different type of material to create different tones - one could be filled with just leaves, the other with rocks.

Step 2

Jam jars on their sides on a bed of soil, filled with rocks

Place them on their sides on a bank of soft dirt, or leave them standing upright if you prefer.

Step 3

Two hands holding sticks playing the jam jars like a xylaphone

Play the jars! Tap their glass with the sticks or spoons to create different sounds.

Top tips

  • Try filling the jars with different combinations and amounts to create different sounds
  • Using spoons will make a different noise to sticks – experiment with using different quantities