I first learned about the fine art of thunder drumming from my friend Jenny at Let The Children Play. We wound up copying several things from that post of hers, but the thing we did right away was acquire said thunder drum, reclaimed from one of our families' refuse piles. It had its hey day a year or so ago, then gradually became a kind of funky side table, pushed off into a corner near the garden. During our Chinese New Year dragon parade, one of our parent-teachers pulled it away from the wall to beat an impromptu rhythm on it.
That probably explains why one of our 2-year-old boys noticed it enough to upend it with a loud crash yesterday -- it was in his way. A nearby parent-teacher said, "You knocked over the trash can." That's when it dawned on me why the thunder drum had sat idle for so long. Everyone just thought it was an upside down trash can! So I called it by it's real name, "That's not a trash can," I said, returning it to its proper position, "That's a thunder drum."
A few kids milled around looking at this object with which they've been going to school for nearly 6 months without really noticing it. We had the clay and clay tools out under the new canopy, so I grabbed a few of the wooden hammers and demonstrated. Soon we were enjoying a delightful thunder drum concert.
One of the kids added a couple of our loose parts and the more they hammered that drum, the more those loose parts danced.
Never underestimate the power of calling things by their proper name.