Create a kazoo
Use bush craft skills to make a noise!
Whittling requires precision and patience - are you up for the challenge?
This is a Call of the Wild session for secondary school age children aged 11 upwards and explains how to use bush craft skills to make a kazoo.
Watch the video first for an overview of how to do it, as demonstrated by pupils taking part in one of our Call of the Wild sessions at Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Keresley, Coventry. Then check out the detailed instructions below. Supervision is essential for this activity. Be safe!
What you’ll need
- Felt tip or marker
- String / elastic bands
- Billhook / axe or saw
- 10cm lengths of green wood that are around 3–5 cm thick, wood like hazel works best.
Cut 10cm long lengths of green wood: this is fresh wood, recently cut, which has not had time to dry. Aim for wood which is approximately 3–5cm thick. Do this using your loppers, making sure you keep your fingers away from the cutting edge, with both hands on the lopper handles. Using your marker, mark two rings around the circumference of your stick, in the middle and around 2-3cm apart.
Using a bill hook and a mallet, split the kazoo through the centre, down the length of the wood. If you don’t have a bill hook, you could use an axe or at a push, a saw, although this is more difficult. Remember to wear a glove on the hand not gripping the tool. Top tip: Try to avoid splitting through any knots in the wood.
For those new to whittling, watch this Warwickshire Wildlife Trust Wildnerness Skills: Whittling video guide for advice on techniques and safety before starting your project.
Mark with your felt tip across each split width to join up your already marked rings. Then using a knife, carefully strip away a thin layer of wood between the marked lines, from each part of your kazoo. Be patient, the amount you need to remove is small, so when the parts are rejoined the gap should only be around 3mm. When using your knife remember to wear a glove on the hand not holding the knife. Make sure you can reach your arm out to its full length with the knife and not touch anyone. NEVER hold the wood in your lap as the knife will be too close to your thighs and body. Always whittle away from your body: hold your wood and knife to the side and use a push stroke so you are cutting away from your body and the hand holding the wood.
Stretch an elastic band around the length of one of the parts and place the other part on top and clamp the two together using string or more elastic bands.
Blow through the hole and listen out for the noise!