Pan Flute from Straws and Craft Sticks

This is such a simple instrument to construct and pretty fun to play. Even a small child can be a successful musician. With some practice a little flutist can compose their own melody or follow the numbers to play familiar composition.

Supplies to create a simple pan flute

5 different colors of large (smoothie) straws. Smaller straws make it more difficult to produce sound but it is possible.

2 craft sticks

glue dots

6″ ruler


Optional:  stick decorations, grid to record composed melody

Here are the child friendly directions:

Decorate the craft sticks. You can use decorative tape, stickers or markers.

Add five evenly spaced glue dots on each stick.

Carefully cut 5 straw lengths. We used 5 different colors, but that is not essential. They each will be 1/2″ longer than the next one. We started at 2 3/4″. You may choose to cut 3″, 3 1/2″, 4″, 4 1/2″, and 5″. You get to choose.

Attach each straw pipe to one stick on top of each glue dot. Be sure to arrange them longest to shortest in order.

Attach the remaining craft stick to the top, lining up the glue dots. Squeeze the sticks together gently.

Label the pipes in order, longest to shortest, 1-5 by writing numbers on the stick above each straw.
You are ready to give it a try! Gently blow across the top of a pipe. The sound won’t be loud, but the tones will be different in each pipe. It might take you a few tries to make it work.

Pan Flute Science

As you blow across the staw, the air in the straw vibrates. What you are actually hearing is the air inside of the straw, not the flute itself. You can change the pitch by changing the length of the straw. The more air you blow, the louder the sound will be. The sound is produced by the vibration of air blowing across the open holes of the straws.

You can create your own song and write it down so others can play it. Happy tooting!

The Winkle sells STEAM kits that contain four projects each month. Projects like the Pan Flute come complete with all supplies needed and a video link with instructions. Even more exciting, the price is VERY reasonable. It’s a kid and mom pleaser. Check  it out here.

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