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Play Helps
A Ship's Bell Rattle

Operated with plenty of energy and this simple rattle can generate plenty of decibels. This can make it suitable for some children with a hearing loss. In my teaching days I used it to attract the children's attention at the end of a free play session. I have since made several more for children with multiple disabilities. Hung within easy reach, the child can use the Ship's Bell just as a rattle that does not need holding - and cannot be dropped - or even to attract the attention of an adult.

You Need

  • A treacle tin (or similar) with a rolled lip. No sharp edges!
  • A wooden clapper - a cotton reel if, like me, you still have a few wooden ones saved up for special occasions - a large macramé bead or even a wooden block with a hole drilled through it.
  • A length of piping cord. This is snowy white and looks attractive. Thick string would do just as well.
  • A ring or a large bead to hang on the end for easy manipulation.
  • A skewer.
  • Possibly Humbrol enamel or some other form of decoration for the tin.


  1. Punch a hole in the bottom of the tin with the skewer.
  2. Thread the piping cord into the tin, through the hole. About half way along it tie a large knot to prevent it from pulling out.
  3. Tie another knot on the outside of the tin to prevent the piping cord from disappearing inside. The tin is now anchored in the middle of the cord.
  4. Thread the cord through the clapper and position it so that it will strike against the lip of the tin. Tie a knot below it to keep it in place.
  5. Tie a ring to the end of the string to make it easy for the child to grasp. Tie a loop above the tin for hanging it by.
  6. Decorate the tin.
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A Ship's Bell Rattle