Father & Son Project: We Built Our Own Drum Kit!

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Not a “How To” Article

Sorry. If you were looking to read a “How To” article, you won’t find one here. Unless you are looking for a “How to have fun while teaching your kids” article, or “How to teach through play” or even, “How to bond with your kids while teaching them”. If that’s what you’re looking for, well, then you came to the right place!

If you’ve been reading Daddy Go To Timeout for any amount of time you already know these two things:

  • Any time I learn something new about parenting or homeschooling, I’m gonna share it.
  • I’m a huge proponent of nontraditional homeschooling. If I can think of a project that will get us outside, roll our sleeves up and get dirty, we’re going to give it a try.

In this case, both of the above happened, and it provided the opportunity for a wonderful experience for both me and my son, JoJo.


JoJo has been asking me for a drum kit for some time. I have really wanted to say yes, but there are two things that have kept me buying one for him. First of all, there are eight of us crowded into our 1640 sq. ft. house which means there is absolutely no place to put a drum kit. Not even in the attic (yes, I considered that option). Second, drums are expensive, and since I gave up my paying teaching gig to homeschool my own kids for free, we haven’t been able to justify that kind of expenditure.

So, what to do? What to do?


What we don’t have in space or cash, we make up for with imagination and time. Oh, and we have a lot of junk lying around too! So after persistant nudging from JoJo, we decided to come up with a plan for making our own drum kit on the cheap.

Here JoJo poses with most of the supplies that we used for the project.

Rounding Up Supplies

We have plenty of empty 3 and 5 gallon chlorine buckets lying around our backyard. We decided that they would make good bass drums. For the high range toms, we picked up some 3 inch and 5 inch diameter pvc pipe at Lowes. Gorilla tape, a few joints, elbows and Ts, some bolts and a piece of dowel (drumsticks) rounded out the items that we purchased.

Getting Started

This was supposed to be a rainy day project to keep us busy during tropical storm Imelda. The first day was nice enough to work outside before the storm hit and kept us inside for the next two.

I did most of the designing and JoJo did most of the construction. Together, we made a great team. We had fun, and learned a bit of engineering and problem solving skills. More importantly, we did some bonding, which is always important even when they are 9 yr. olds.

Enough already! Just show us the pictures!

We left the plastic bottom on one of our five gallon buckets and cut the bottom off of the other and covered it with Gorilla tape. We did this experiment to see what kinds of sounds we could expect from the two surfaces .
JoJo did most of the work on the drums. Here he is stretching Gorilla Tape over an 8 inch pvc joint.
We made four high range toms to be mounted to the lower cross piece of the rigging. JoJo and I weren’t sure how to vary the tone of the toms so we conducted an experimented by trying two diffrent diameters and two lengths of pipe. We constructed the rigging from 2″ pvc pipe. The two of us glued all of the joints together and drilled mounting holes for the toms and cymbols (aka cooking pot lids).
JoJo trying out the drums while I attach the cymbols.
Trying out the completed drum set.
I love this picture because it shows my boys doing what they do. Here JoJo is playing the drum set that he built with my help, while his two brothers work on a bicycle in the background!

Project Complete!

As soon as the weather cleared up, JoJo set up his drums on the driveway. Later on, the boys moved the drum set down to the corner and took turns playing. As there were lots of cars driving by, one of them got the idea to set out a tip jar and sure enough, they made three dollars!

This Project Taught Me Five Valuable Things!

  • JoJo loves to work with his hands. He’d rather build something than be on an electronic device, any day of the week. It’s important to know things like this about your kids. JoJo is not super motivated academically, but since he does like to work with his hands I will continue to use these types of projects to tap into his interests and aptitudes.
  • I love to design and troubleshoot. This project took me back to the days when I was a kid, building forts and making stuff from the things I found lying around. It also took me back to my days as a theater teacher, designing and building props.
  • This project was a great way for a father and son to bond by working on a project together.
  • I did most of the designing on this project. In the future, I would like to teach my kids how to problem solve and think like a designer. I’m totally looking forward to seeing them design and build their own projects!
  • Teaching a kid to problem solve is way more useful than feeding them rote facts. Learning through doing also trumps watching, or reading about a subject. That’s why I prefer to take my classroom outside, on the road or even to the campground.

We learned a lot more than this, but let’s face it. Much more than five, and you’ll start daydreaming about dessert. So I’ll leave you with that. But trust me, I can’t overstate the value of doing these types of projects with your kids!

I sure hope that reading about our experience has inspired you to start looking outside the box when you are planning future homeschool activities, projects, and curriculum.

Brian Wood

Daddy Go To Timeout

Join Our Homeschool Group

If you are on Facebook, and would like to get connected, it’s easy to find a homeschool group that fits your needs. If you would like to learn more about the Worry Free Homeschooling philosophy, you can read this article (which really needs to be updated). You can also just jump into our Facebook group, Worry Free Homeschooling by clicking here. Note: The group is set to private so it may take up to a day for you to be able to participate in the discussions.

Whether you are an old pro or just beginning your first year as a homeschool teacher, you can always use a support system. I would love for you to consider joining the Worry Free Homeschooling Facebook group.

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