I've been collecting ideas for you and your group to make your own Native American style gourd rattles during this Autumn season. You can see the children enjoying this activity in this photo from my classroom a few years ago. Below, you'll find articles, videos, activities and even the link to a little Cherokee song mp3 download that my groups enjoy singing.
1. Here is a photo of some gourd rattles that I show my groups when we study about the Native cultures of the Americas. You can learn more about the history of Native American gourd rattles in this article from the American Indian Heritage Foundation: "Native American Rattles" CLICK HERE (Small rattles like these can be found in local craft shops and are the perfect size for children's hands)
2. At my Subscriber's Freebie Collection, you can download my FREE Printables, "Gourd Rattle Matching Pattern Cards", to create a shelf work for your Montessori Music or Cultural Shelf. And at the end of this post, you will find the link to access my mp3 song download "Cherokee Work Chant" sung by one of the groups in my Montessori music classes. This song is great for sitting in a "Pow wow" style circle with little "drummers" in the middle while the other children sing and shake their own gourd rattles.
3. During harvest time and before Halloween, you can find gourds at the Pumpkin Patch! Make sure you purchase the dried gourds that already have the seeds separating inside the gourd. When you shake the gourd, you will be able to hear the seeds making a rattling sound inside. The more you shake these gourds, the nicer sound the seeds will make. I have also purchased gourds directly from a gourd farm in Ojai, CA. (in my region) and there are on-line sites that sell dried gourds as well. CLICK HERE
Photo from Pixabay
4. Here is a lovely Youtube video demonstration of how to make a simple gourd rattle: "Easy Rattle Making with Shaman Bob" CLICK HERE
5. Take an on-line lesson in how to shake a rattle from a percussionist, A J Block, at this Youtube video, "How to Play a Rattle and Shakers~ Practice with a Metronome." CLICK HERE
6. Learn about the history of gourd rattles and actually hear how some historical rattles sound, at this Youtube video from the Penn Museum:"Maya Gourd Rattles." CLICK HERE
7. Discover some Hopi Gourd Rattles for sale at this gallery site: "Found Myself Art Community and Galleries" CLICK HERE
8. Watch this amazing video from the Student Documentary Film Festival at Arizona State University "Naa Daa Nanitin". From the description: "The film provides a glimpse into the intimate relationship the Navajo people have with the natural environment." You'll hear a Navajo chant accompanied by a rattle in the background on the video. CLICK HERE
9. You might also like this Lesson Plan Activity Pack at my Teachers Pay Teachers shop. "Musically Montessori~North American Pow Wow Music and Dance for Children." CLICK HERE
10. Download my Free Printables and set up a beautiful Pattern Matching Work for your Montessori Music, Art, or Cultural shelf. These printables can also give your children ideas for designs to paint on their own gourd rattles. When you subscribe to my Newsletter email list, you will have access to all of my free resources, including my eBook, "Musically Montessori: First Lessons For the Classroom Teacher". CLICK HERE
11. Download my mp3 recording of Montessori children singing a "Cherokee Work Song" and then you can teach this simple chant to your groups for singing and playing their rattles or egg shakers or other rhythm instrument. CLICK HERE
~ This will take you to my dropbox, where you can preview the file
~ Click on "Download" in the upper right hand corner to download the song to your
My groups love to drum to this song, dance a "round dance" to this song, and shake their shakers while chanting this song!