Pin It
Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Tibetan Singing Bowls and Hidden Kitchen Instruments for Kids

Tibetan Singing Bowls/ Abigail Batchelder

It was love at first “ring”! I can still remember the first time I ever heard the beautiful sound of a Tibetan Singing Bowl. I had never seen or heard of one before and the tone that it produced was immediately calming and intriguing. I was fascinated that a bowl could produce such an amazing sound and so magically!


Singing bowls are often referred to as Tibetan or Himalayan Singing Bowls and their origin can be traced back to the 10th-12th century AD to countries such as Nepal, Tibet, India, China and Japan. For those of you not familiar with singing bowls, they are actually a type of bronze bell known as a “standing bell.” Rather than hanging, they sit in an inverted position, just like a bowl. The bowls are played either by rubbing a mallet around the rim (as one might play a crystal glass with a finger), or striking the side of the bowl with the mallet. The sides and rim of singing bowls vibrate to produce sound characterized by a fundamental frequency (first harmonic) and usually two audible harmonic overtones (second and third harmonic). Singing bowls are still manufactured today in the traditional way by hand hammering. They are used worldwide for meditation, music, relaxation, healing and personal well-being.


Years after being introduced to singing bowls, I now own my very own! I occasionally bring it to class and have the children listen to it and try it out. Children are very intrigued by the sound and always have a lot of questions about where the sound is coming from and how it works. It also has a very calming effect. I would encourage teachers to keep one in their classroom and bring it out during transition times. It can be played to focus the class or it can be offered to individual children who might need a little extra attention!


You might not know it, but you have a singing bowl already in your kitchen! How many of you have a stainless steel mixing bowl? Bring out those metal bowls and offer them to your child with a rubber mallet. Of course these don’t produce the same long, deep tones as a real singing bowl but the vibration produced when struck could fool you! While you are at it, look in your kitchen for other possible camouflaged instruments! How about spoons? Try playing them together like a castanet, just like they do in Ireland! Don’t forget that chopsticks make wonderful rhythm sticks for older kids and Tupperware filled with beans or rice make wonderful shakers!


If you want to learn more about Himalayan cultures, check if your community hosts a Himalayan Fair. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can enjoy music, dancing, food and artifacts at the Himalayan Fair held this year on May 18 and 19 at Live Oak Park in Berkeley. See you there!

© 2013, Viola Pellegrini. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:

Almost African: My Childhood as a Serbo-Croatian in Sudan

The freedom of growing up as the only Serbo-Croatian in Sudan

Arranged Marriage 101

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

9 Things You Should Never Say to Adoptive Parents

Have you made any of these mistakes?


Viola Pellegrini, born and raised in Florence (Italy), holds a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development from Mills College. She has received extensive training in music education from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has attended teacher trainings in both Suzuki Method and Orff. She has also taught preschool for seven years and has been a private music instructor for the past ten years. Viola currently teaches multicultural music and movement to young children and families. She hopes to inspire children to develop a lifelong enjoyment and appreciation for music and cultures from around the world. Viola plays violin, piano, guitar and recorder, and is constantly adding new instruments to her repertoire. In addition to English, she is fluent in Italian and German, and is working on her Spanish. In her free time she enjoys attending music and dance events, cooking, practicing yoga and traveling the world with her husband.

Leave us a comment!

Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.
[…] the breastfeeding culture in Mongolia compared to America. Did you have any idea that something as simple as breastfeeding attitudes can […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
My mother born in the 1930's is originally from the northern part of Germany. I am in my mid fifties and have a terrible relationship with my mother. She is domineering and hurts those where it hurt...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] JC Niala, InCultureParent […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Although humanity is one Man (in a generic sense, including woman)has identified himself endless groups, religious, nationalistic, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, etc. Once you separate ME from YOU on...
From What’s an Asian? Race and Identity for a New Generation
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
Some great tips here but not many working mothers could feed baby every hour especially if you work in a major multi-nationa...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
So true!!! Thanks for being so honest and self reflective. It's a proof of true characte...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
As a first-time mom I've spent the last two months of my four-month-old's life stressed out about her sleep and I recognize how crazy this is. It's clearly not working for me! I'm wondering how non-...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep

More Multicultural Books, Etc.