Easy Musical Scale Preschool Activity Using Mason Jars

Introduce a musical scale in a fun activity with mason jars. Kids can explore the different sounds made by tapping on jars filled with water. Enjoy music with preschoolers in this hands-on activity that provides sensory and fine motor experiences.

music for kids

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Do I hear some hand clapping coming on? Or the sound of your wooden spoon tapping out the beat against the mixing bowl?

A spontaneous round of music and movement can be one of the highlights of your day!

You might catch the kids engaging in musical activities in daily play without any prompting: dancing to a favorite song; marching with musical instruments; mimicking familiar lyrics in pretend play.

Musical activities provide opportunities for kids to play and learn using their all their senses, while supporting the development of cognitive skills.

  • Language: listening and repeating song lyrics
  • Gross motor: dancing, moving to the music
  • Fine motor: playing instruments, tapping and clapping
  • Creative: making up songs and dance movements
  • Social: performing, sharing love of music

If you want to have fun with music, try this creative way to build a musical scale with the kids.

Musical scale activity

Most of us have a few mason jars on hand. They're perfect for this musical game - sturdy, and a good size for kids to handle.

In this activity, kids can learn to distinguish the individual sounds of the notes on a musical scale.

They'll also become familiar with the shape of musical notes as they cut out notes to place on a staff.

The five-line staff is in general use and will be illustrated in this activity.

A staff or stave (plural: staves) indicates the set of lines used for the notation of notes of different pitches.

Engage kids senses

This activity engages kids senses as they build the mason jar scale and play the notes.

  • Sound: listening to water pouring, hearing the sound of the water in the jar when they tap on the side of the jar
  • Sight: watching water pour to the fill line
  • Touch: removing stickers and placing them on the jars
  • Smell: sensing the odor of the water, the stickers, and other materials

Kids learn best when they are hands-on with the materials. Opportunities for hands-on learning will help kids remember the experience. 

Supplies for a musical scale activity

  • mason jars
  • self-adhesive letters
  • wooden spoon or plastic drum stick


Musical notes printable

Musical scale printable

Instructions for a musical scale activity

Musical scale preschool activity using mason jars


 1. Prepare the jars in advance.

  • Add water to mason jars to reproduce the notes in the scale on the keyboard. Experiment with the sound by tapping gently on the jar as you add, or remove, water.
  • Apply the letter indicating the note of the scale on each jar so that the bottom of the letter indicates the waterline.
  • Empty the jars.


2. Prepare the musical notes and staff.


Musical notes cut from construction paper for a preschool activity


  • Draw musical notes (or print these to trace around) on plain white paper so children can color and cut out the notes - or - simply cut the notes from black construction paper for the children to place on the staff.


Musical activities with kids

 Musical scale kids activity with mason jars


1. Fill each jar with water to the bottom of the letter on the jar.

To make this easier for young children, have the correct amount of water for each jar in a corresponding plastic cup, so kids can pour from the cups into the mason jars.


2. Tap on the jars to hear the different sounds (notes).

Experiment striking the jars with a wooden spoon, a plastic drum stick, or a rubber mallet.


Add musical note cutouts to the staff to correspond with notes on the scale


3. Place the prepared staff in front of the jars.

Draw a mark (X) on the staff to indicate where each note will be  placed.

Note: This activity is based on the C major scale.


4. Place musical notes on the staff to line up with the jars.

The letter on the mason jar names the note on the staff.

 Musical scale fine motor and listening activity for preschoolers



More activities

  • In a small group activity, provide a jar for each child and a plastic container of water. Experiment with the amount of water in the jar and striking the jars with a wooden spoon, a plastic drum stick, or a rubber mallet.



Musical scale preschool activity


  • Find the sounds created by the jars on the keyboard - kids mimic each sound by tapping their corresponding mason jar.

  • Make this a child-led activity by providing materials and allowing kids to explore and discover with minimal guidance.


Kids will love making sounds with the jars, and experimenting with the mallets. 

An introduction to music through hands-on activities helps make learning fun and memorable.

Do I see some toe tapping coming on?


mason jar music activity for kids


 Music for Children on PInterest

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