5 Homemade Musical Instruments to Make with Kids

A teacher once described kindergarten music lessons as “noisemakers with noisemakers,” and it’s certainly true. If you’ve got the tolerance for some unique music, however, letting kids make and play their own instruments is a great way to let them express themselves. Here are five music crafts kids will love to make before forming their own bands.

Plastic Bottle Maracas

You’ll need:

  • Plastic bottles with tops
  • Sand, rice, lentils, beans, dried peas
  • Sticky-back contact paper
  • Funnel
  • Stickers
  • Markers and crayons.

Using the funnel, fill each bottle about one-third to half-full with sand, rice, dry lentils, beans, or peas. Secure the top and have children shake to see which filler makes the sound they like best (sand and small lentils produce softer, gentler sounds than the larger dried peas and beans).

Cover the entire bottle with the sticky-back contact paper, which helps prevent spills. Children can then decorate their maracas with stickers, crayons, and markers.

Cardboard Kazoos

You’ll need:

  • Cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls
  • Wax paper
  • Rubber bands
  • Sharp pencil
  • Paint, stickers, or other art supplies.

Have children decorate the tube with paint or other craft supplies. Cover one end of the tube with wax paper, securing it with a rubber band. Poke a hole in the tube with the sharp pencil, then have the child hum into the open end of the kazoo. You can vary the sound by poking extra holes or using different lengths of tube.

Bottle Cap Castanets

This one requires a little adult help, but the results are well worth the effort.

You’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Safety scissors
  • 4 bottle caps (two per castanet)
  • A hammer
  • Superglue
  • Markers, glitter, and stickers.

Before letting your child help, carefully flatten the bottle caps with the hammer. Now draw two wide strips on the cardboard with rounded edges, slightly wider than the flattened bottle caps. Have the children cut the strips out using safety scissors.

Fold each cardboard strip in half. Put a dab of glue on the bottom of each bottle cap (the jagged end) and stick to each end of the cardboard, so the bottle caps meet when you fold the cardboard in half. As you’re using superglue, its best if this part of the craft is also done by an adult.

Let children decorate their castanets, then show them how to press the upper and lower pieces of cardboard together to make the bottle caps click.

Coffee Can Drums

We know, we know-drums and small children equal noise. But it’s a gleeful, happy noise, and what band can work its musical magic without a drummer?

You’ll need:

  • Empty coffee can
  • Stickers
  • markers
  • Colored vinyl tape
  • Construction paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Glue.

Glue a piece of construction paper around the outside of the can, and have children decorate it with stickers, markers, and colored vinyl tape. Put the plastic top of the coffee can back on, and you’ve got an instant drum. You can have children experiment with sound by using the plastic top or metal bottom to make music, or by putting a small item in the drum and shaking it.

Cardboard Guitars

You’ll need:

  • Cardboard cereal box
  • Cardboard tube
  • Safety scissors
  • Rubber bands
  • Duct tape.

Cut a hole in the front of the cardboard box and make a second hole on the top of the box for the cardboard tube, which will be the guitar’s neck. At the top of the tube, make a series of small cuts to hold the rubber band “strings.” Tape the bottom of the tube into the hole you made at the top of the cardboard box.

Wrap rubber bands over the cuts at the top of the tube, pulling them down to the bottom of the box and taping them firmly into place. Kids play the guitar by plucking the rubber bands.

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