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9 Easy to Make Musical Instruments for Kids

Children love music as much as they enjoy making things. Why not join these two creative forces and make one or all of these fun and easy musical instruments to encourage play and creativity.

DECORATIVE ITEMS

For any of these activities, you can leave the items plain or decorate them. If you need ideas for decorating these projects, try any of the following items. We are sure this list will help you think of even more items you can use. Combine different things such as buttons and glitter or sequins and yarn. Let the children's creativity surprise you!

Keeping items such as these in a large plastic storage container makes for easy access and quick clean up.

  • sequins
  • buttons
  • yarn
  • ribbon
  • masking tape
  • beads
  • glitter
  • sand
  • cellophane
  • construction paper
  • magazines
  • photos
  • crayons
  • markers
  • colored pencils
  • paint
  • nail polish
When you are finished constructing your instruments, have a camera ready to take a picture of the band. Record this activity in your child's scrapbook so you can look back in years to come.

TAMBOURINE

  • 2 paper plates
  • stapler or glue
  • hole punch
  • string
  • jingle bells
  • crayons
Staple or glue two paper plates together, facing each other. Using a hole punch, make holes around the plates and tie jingle bells to the holes with string. Decorate the tambourine with crayons.

Shake to play.

Note: Heavy duty paper plates may be more durable for this craft.

Safety note: If using a stapler, an adult should do this. When finished be sure to cover the staples with scotch tape.

DRUM

  • empty oatmeal box with cover
  • yarn
  • pen
  • 2 pencils
  • 2 spools
  • construction paper
  • crayons
Before beginning, you can decorate the oatmeal box with construction paper and/or crayons for a colorful effect.

Place the cover on the box. Use a pen to make a hole in the center of the cover and in the center of the bottom of the box. Through these holes, pull a piece of yarn long enough to hang around child's neck and down to their waist.

For the drumsticks, place the spools at the ends of the pencils, secure with glue if necessary.

Beat to play.

CHIMES

  • ruler or stick
  • washers
  • nail polish
  • string
  • mixing spoon
Hang the washers from the ruler or stick with pieces of string by wrapping the string around the ruler or stick and securing. Strike the washers with the mixing spoon to play.

Note: You can make this craft colorful by painting the washers first with different color nail polishes, such as red, gold, glittery, etc. Parents should supervise this part of the activity closely.

HORN

  • paper towel roll
  • waxed paper
  • rubber band
  • pen
Cover one end of the paper towel roll with waxed paper, secure it with a rubber band. Punch a row of holes along one side of the roll with the tip of a pen.

To play, sing a tune into the open end of the horn.

CYMBALS
  • two matching pot covers
  • yarn or ribbon
Tie the ribbon or yarn around the handles of the pot covers. To play, strike together.

XYLOPHONE

  • tall glasses or jars
  • water
  • mixing spoon
Fill the glasses or jars with different amounts of water. The more water in the glass, the lower the pitch will be. Having less water in the glass or jar will raise the pitch.

To play, gently strike the glasses with a mixing spoon.

Note: This instrument should probably be played by older children in "the band" because of the use of glass.

COMB BUZZER

  • pocket comb
  • tissue paper
Fold a piece of tissue paper over the tooth edge of a comb. To play, hum through the tissue paper.

GUITAR

  • empty shoe box
  • rubber bands
  • ruler or stick
Remove the cover from the box. Stretch the rubber bands around the box. Attach the ruler or stick to the back of the box on one end to act as the arm of the guitar.

To play, strum or pluck the rubber bands.

HAND BELLS

  • 2 paper towel rolls
  • hole punch
  • 4 jingle bells
  • string or yarn
Punch a hole in each end of the paper towel rolls. Tie two jingle bells to each side of the paper towel rolls by running string or yarn through the holes and carefully tying off.

Shake to play.

Have fun and let creativity and imagination run wild! Record the band's first song and play back for some great giggle time. Enjoy!

MORE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS TO MAKE

CHINESE GONG K and up
A gong is an East and South East Asian musical percussion instrument that takes the form of a flat metal disc which is hit with a mallet. Find out how to make one using simple, household materials. From: Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou. [read more]

COFFEE CAN DRUM K-5
Drums are an important part of life and ceremony in many cultures. Here is a simple method for you and your students to create a fun sounding drum as you celebrate the cultures of the world. [read more]
(Section: Multicultural Art)

DIDGERIDOOS K and up
A didgeridoo is a long wooden trumpet-like instrument used by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. A real didgeridoo is made of a hollow wooden branch with a beeswax mouthpiece. You and your kinderartists can make your very own didgeridoo using offcuts of PVC (plumbing) pipe or wrapping paper tubes. [read more]
(Section: Multicultural Art)

DRUM Gr. 3 and up
Learn how to make a dumbek or conga drum with materials from the garden shed. [read more]
(Section: Multicultural Art)

GUITARS AS SCULPTURE Gr. 6-8
A motivating project that incorporates music and history. From Alison J. Lorion. [read more]
(Section: Sculpture)

HARP OF GOLD Gr. 3-5
Students will experiment with sound as they create and decorate a harp box. From Mariella Pace. [read more]

JINGLE BELLS K and up
Throughout time people have loved the sound of bells that jingle. Here are some ideas for making your own jingle bells. From: Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou. [read more]

MARACAS (BALLOONS) K-8
Lillian Foxx's maraca making lesson results in the pleasure of discovery and accomplishment. Here learn how to make maracas using balloons and flour paste. [read more]
(Section: Sculpture)

MARACAS (ORANGES AND PAPER) K-8
Learn how to make maracas using oranges, tissue paper and glue. From KinderArt. [read more]
(Section: Sculpture)

MARACAS (RECYCLED MATERIALS) Pre-K and up
Maracas are one of the simplest instruments to play for young children or the beginning musician. They are essentially rattles with handles. Find out how to make maracas out of bottles and toilet paper rolls. From: Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou. [read more]

MARACAS (SIMPLE) & SHAKERS Pre-K-8
Maracas were originally made from the dried shells of gourds with beads or beans inside. This lesson shows you how to make maracas using paper cups. [read more]
(Section: Sculpture)

OCEAN DRUM PreK and up
An ocean drum is filled with small round objects that, when tilted back and forth, sound remarkably like the waves at the seashore. Find out how to make an ocean drum here. From: Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou. [read more]

RAINSTICKS K and up
Legend has it that the Chilean Indians invented the rainstick to make rainy weather. You can make a rainstick using materials you can find around the house. [read more]
(Section: Sculpture)

SISTRUM K and up
A sistrum is a hand-held percussion instrument that dates back to Ancient Egypt. Make your own with items from around the house. From: Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou. [read more]

STICKER SHAKERE Pre-K and up
A shakere is a beautiful musical instrument made from a dried gourd that is shaken, tossed or moved from hand to hand creating wonderful rhythms and songs. Find out how to make one using a recycled milk carton. From: Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou. [read more]

© KinderArt®

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