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Backyard Melody Maker

Backyard Melody Maker

Total Time Needed: 1 Hour

This interactive musical rod is simple to make and easy to use -- over and over again. Kids slide the washers to the top of the metal rod and release them. As the washers slowly cascade to the bottom, they make a beautiful metallic twinkling sound, similar to that of a rain stick. One 4-year-old tester declared it "the most awesome musical instrument I've ever played in my whole life!"


  • 1/2- by 4-inch threaded eyebolt
  • Teflon (plumber's) tape
  • 1/2-inch coupling nut
  • 1/2-inch all-thread rod, 24 or 36 inches long
  • 10 to 15 1/2-inch washers
  • 1/2-inch locknut
  • Rope or cord


To prevent the metal pieces from unscrewing over time, wrap a piece of Teflon tape around the end of the eyebolt and both ends of the rod.

Starting at the top, assemble the pieces as shown here. Finish by sliding the washers onto the rod, then threading on the locknut.

Hang the rod with a rope or cord.