Children engage for longer when soundmakers and instruments are left in a contained space rather than in the open. The privacy of the experience allows them to remain engrossed and take their investigations further. Ali Harmer uses the acronym ChIMP – Child Initiated Musical Play, and her research shows the benefits of providing musical opportunities in enclosed spaces.

Spaces to try out this idea:

  • bought dens such as the big wicker ones that are popular in many settings


  • found objects such as big cardboard boxes

Carboard box den

  • semi-enclosed spaces in woods – under overhanging branches, or shelters made by previous groups.


Here’s an example of children autonomously making their own music in the privacy of a den: