Thursday, May 17, 2012

Boomwhacker Storage

I have recently seen a post floating around Pinterest showing a way to organize your Boomwhackers. Rainbows Within Reach shows a cardboard file stacker turned on its backside with cardboard dividers inserted into the slots to separate each boomwhacker. Although she has many great ideas for organization around the classroom, I kept scratching my head when I saw this picture. (Please note that this system does not belong to Rainbows Within Reach. She took the picture when she was visiting another elementary music classroom.)

I'm all about organization; I have an entire Pinboard devoted to it. But when I look at a post on organization, the first thing I ask myself is, "how long would it take someone to create that?" One must evaluate their system to make sure they're not wasting their time with details that are not necessary. When I saw Rainbow's picture of storage system, I didn't understand why each Boomwhacker needed it's own little cubbie hole. I just thought of the time it took to cut the cardboard dividers and to get them to fit just right snug in their place without moving around while the children are getting the Boomwhackers in and out. The individual cubbies are not necessary. Also, some of the smallest Boomwhackers looked difficult to reach because the cardboard was taller than the Boomwhacker. (To solve this, the teacher could put something in the bottom of the slot so the Boomwhacker does not fall all the way down. Something quick and easy could be wadded up newspaper.)

Here is a picture of my Boomwhacker storage system:

Each pitch has it's own slot, but there is really no need for each Boomwhacker to have their own cubbie space. I have stored my Boomwhackers this way for 6 years and the cardboard boxes are still in pristine condition. It does not require any maintenance. In the picture below, you can see that I reused boxes that came from brand new sets of hand drums. The smallest frame drum boxes are shorter so it is easy to reach even high do! If you were not fortunate enough to have purchased a brand new set of hand drums, any set of narrow boxes would do. You could cut the height to the correct size for the shortest Boomwhackers. (I also like organizational systems that you can make for free! I always think twice about something before I throw it away. I also have a pinboard devoted to repurposing.) 

I do not have any of the long lower octave Boomwhackers, but I do have some Octavator Caps that make the pitches lower. I store them in a plastic index file and just stick the box in the open space near the upper octave. I have a set of 8 and they fit perfectly. This index card box was something I had laying around, so no money was wasted purchasing something new.

I keep my box of Boomwhackers in the bottom of my storage cabinet. When I need them for a lesson, it is easy to just slide the box out and put it back out of the way when finished.

I especially like the fact that students can easily put the Boomwhackers away without teacher assistance. During clean-up time, I call only one pitch/color at a time and rarely do I have a kid put their Boomwhacker in the wrong slot. Also, with this arrangement, the students can visually see the progression from low to high (long to short). They almost always make the connection to how the xylophones are arranged. This is the system that works in my classroom. I hope someone else finds it useful as well.


  1. Love this! I am at a brand new school this year with little extra money for storage, etc. I have moving boxes and I also love to repurpose so I have lots of cereal boxes - that could work right? Turn it on its side and cut the top (side) off. I love the visual effect of storing them this way. Thanks for the great idea!

  2. Cereal boxes should work. But, they are much thinner than the boxes I used. I would reinforce the edges with some duck tape so they don't get damaged and ripped as quickly. Good luck!

  3. Perhaps the shipping boxes at the Post Office? I seem to remember that you can get them for free....

  4. Great idea! Those would definitely be more sturdy than cereal boxes.