“Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then. Who cares about the clouds when we’re together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather. Happy trails to you, ’till we meet again.”This is my last post for the summer as I will be leaving the Center and returning to California. I thought that the best choice for my final post would be to end with the activities we did during our last week of art projects during Art in the Garden. Our last week of Art in the Garden, was the same week we had our last Family Fun Day. The theme of our Family Fun Day was “Music in the West“, so I thought it was the best theme to end this summer’s Art in the Garden. Below are two kinds of musical instruments the kids made that week, and now you too can make your own!
—From Happy Trails by Dale Evans and Roy Rogers 
Western Music Arts and Crafts
Native American Musical RattlesThis rattle isn’t the type you would give a baby. It is a musical instrument. Native American rattles were made out of a variety of animal skins and often used in ceremonies. Here you can make your own for musical accompaniment for fun!
Make Your Own Native American Musical Rattle
Dessert paper plates (Do not use foam or waxy ones)
- Popsicle sticks
- Masking tape
- Markers or crayons
- First color the outer sides of two plates. Design it however you would like.
- Take a popsicle stick and place it about one-fourth of the way on the inside of one of the paper plates.
- Using the masking tape, tape the stick to the plate.
- Throw a handful of beans on top.
- Place the other paper plate over the bean filled one.
- Staple the edges of the two paper plates, making sure there are no openings allowing the beans to fall out.
- Shake the rattle.
For our Family Fun Day on Friday, we repeated this activity as it was so popular.
Banjos are often a symbol of the West. They are used in country music, western film and TV series, or played by characters from the West. Now you can create your own banjo to play along!
Make Your Own Banjo
- 12-inch wooden rectangle (about the size and width of a ruler)
- Tacky or craft glue
- Hot glue gun and hot glue
- Rubber bands
- First take two plates and place them on top of each other.
- Staple their rims together, creating a stronger piece.
- Glue the wooden rectangle to the bottom of the plates about one-third of the way down.
- Take a clothespin and pull it apart so you have two wooden pieces.
- Take three rubber bands and stretch them out.
- Put clothespin inside the three rubber bands, placing the bands in the grooves of the clothespins.
- Pull clothespins apart and mark where you want to glue them on the plate.
- Put the rubber bands around one clothespin and have an adult place hot glue on the back, securing the rubber bands in their place.
- Put the clothespin down on the plate where you intended and place your hand on the clothespin while pulling the rubber bands to the second area on the plate
- Wait for it to dry.
- This is the tricky side and should be done only be an adult. Place the clothespin in the rubber bands and put hot glue down in the area you marked earlier.
- Have the adult stretch the clothespins wrapped in rubber bands to the hot glue, placing it and holding it down. Be careful, sometimes the rubber bands will shift the clothespin and cause you to burn yourself.
- Wait for it to dry.
- Color and decorate your banjo however you want.
While it makes me sad that this was my last week of Art in the Garden, and that this will be my last blog post, I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment here at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. I have always hated saying good-bye, so instead:
“Happy trails to you, until we meet again!”
For more Art in the Garden Activites, go to Cowboy’s Life is the Life for Me, Native American Arts and Crafts, Wild Things, How the West Was Fun, Nature Arts and Crafts, Wild Wonderland, Western Arts and Crafts, and The West and You
For more on Western music, go to Wild West Music of Buffalo Bill’s Cowboy Band, a collection of essays by Paul Fees, Richard B. Wilson, Harriet Bloom-Wilson, and Michael L. Masterson