Xylophone Fun with Boomwhackers

If you are familiar with my Xylophone Fun Curriculum you are probably aware that it is typically used with a xylophone, or more precisely the Rhythm Band, Basic Beat, or Westco Resonator Bells. But did you know that you can use it with many different instruments that use the same color and note combinations? One of the most fun instruments that can be used with Xylophone Fun are Boomwhackers.

To learn more about the Xylophone Fun Curriculum read all about it here. To see a list of the many instruments that will work with Xylophone Fun check out this link.

This week my boys and I tried playing a few of the Xylophone Fun songs with Boomwhackers. It was super fun and offered a whole new challenge from each boy playing them individually on the xylophone.


Boomwhackers, if you aren’t familiar, are large colorful plastic tubes that are the precise length to provide the tones for the C Diatonic scale. For instance, the longest tube is red and plays the C (middle C on the piano) when it is struck. The shortest tube is also red and plays a high C (one octave higher than middle C). The orange tube is D, the yellow tube is E, the green tube is F, and so one. There are eight tubes total for the eight tones of the C scale. This is the same scale that is used for tuning the xylophone (or resonator bells).

C Diatonic Scale
Xylophone/Resonator Bells

The boomwhackers are played by hitting them on a hard surface. Now what kid wouldn’t love to be given a large stick and told to hit them on the floor on purpose? Sounds fun doesn’t it?

One of the benefits of playing the boomwhackers is that they are best played in a group. This means team work, paying close attention to timing, and knowing when one’s turn is. All of these skills are an addition to the group of skills already included in playing the xylophone, such as: reading left to right, matching color and letter, hand eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, rhythmic timing.

For our group playing we each chose two tubes, or notes/tones, to play, depending on what was needed for the song. We sat in order of the scale. Now, you’ll notice in one or two videos below my youngest son reversed the two tubes in his hands so they are out of order. It didn’t seem to effect his playing but as much as I tried to get him to switch them back he seemed to always revert back.

Before beginning the songs I counted off a full measure to know about how fast to go and get us started. We then took turns playing our notes when it was our turn in the song.

For fun we ended our songs with a bang! Well, more of an applause. It added some fun and helped us feel we did a good job!

The example above is what the song looks like. This song is Hot Cross Buns and is included in Volume 1. The second video is of the boys playing this song. It only uses three of the boomwhackers: C D and E.

Boomwhackers In Action

Here are three songs that we played for you!

Hot Cross Buns
Twinkle, Twinkle

Another Fun Idea

Song from Xylophone Fun Curriculum

Here’s another fun idea: why not try this simple song (pictured above) which is included in Volume 1, 2, and 3. Simply change the word “xylophone” to “boomwhackers” while playing on the boomwhackers!

Other Xylophone Fun Instruments

Want to see what other instruments you can use with Xylophone Fun? Check out this handout here:

xylophone fun resources
Xylophone Fun Extra Resources

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