Creating Simple and Effective Musical Instruments

  • By: The DIG for Kids
  • Time to read: 3 min.
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The importance of music in a child’s growth and development should never be understated. It helps develop important listening skills, a keen sense of rhythm and it’s great fun too. How about combining it with kids crafts for maximum benefit? There are lots of musical instruments to buy in toy stores – but where’s the joy in that? Make your own simple musical instruments at home for hours of fun with kids crafts and music-making.


One of the simpler musical instruments to make are shakers. First, track down a suitable container. Choose something with lids or caps. For example, plastic drinks bottles, empty crisp tubes or cardboard tubs with snap-on plastic lids, like empty hot chocolate or coffee containers.

Next you need to find something to fill the shaker with. Whatever you choose will give a slightly different noise. There are lots of different ideas and you’re certain to have at least one in your store cupboard:

  • Pasta
  • Dried beans or pulses
  • Rice
  • Buttons
  • Rolled up balls of silver foil.

Now the kids need to decorate their shaker. Start by covering the container with bright paper and securing it with sticky tape. Younger children may find it easier to cover the shaker with silver foil as this is nice and easy to use. Kids can finish off their instrument with stickers or paper shapes. They may want to paste their cut out initial onto the shaker. Finally fill the shaker with the beans or rice, secure the lid firmly and they’re ready to make some noise!


No band would be complete without drums. These are easy to make too. They can be as simple as an empty carton with a plastic lid. If you can’t find something with a lid, make the drum skin by stretching a piece of greaseproof paper over the container. Wooden spoons will make excellent drumsticks. Of course, the drum will look even better once the kids have gone to town with their favourite arts and crafts.


Using simple kids crafts, it takes very little time to rustle up a really good tambourine. Start by finding two paper plates and taping the two plates’ edges together so you make a hollow ‘UFO’ shape. Make regular holes around the edge and thread some bright ribbon through, attaching foil discs made from scrunching silver foil. Use some jingle bells, if you are lucky enough to have any. Try adding jazzy ribbons of crepe paper to give the effect of traditional tambourine streamers.


Another musical instrument that’s easy to conjure up with some basic kids crafts are maracas.

  • Lightly inflate a balloon and using papier mache, build up two layers to create the basic maracas shape. Make sure you leave an uncovered area at the base of the balloon, approximately the circumference of a cardboard tube.
  • When you are happy with your ‘model’ burst the balloon and fill with beans or beads.
  • Stopper one end of the cardboard tube and push this through the hole at the base. Secure tightly with sticky tape.
  • Finish the maracas by painting the handiwork and decorating as elaborately as the kids fancy.
  • You could strengthen the handle by adding more papier mache.

A Simple Guitar

OK, so Jimi Hendrix never had one of these but he would have loved to own one! A simple guitar is within very easy reach using just a few basic kids crafts.

The perfect base for the guitar is an empty cardboard tissue box. Before you start the transformation, let the kids go wild with their decorations – the more outlandish and intricate the better!

Loop four or five elastic bands lengthways across the new guitar and support them with a bridge made from a pencil. This is simply slipped behind them to raise them a little at one side of the oval hole in the guitar. Now the guitar is complete and ready for its part in the band!

Making musical instruments at home is a bit of simple fun. Try some of the suggestions and see if the kids can come up with any new, undiscovered instruments. With a few arts and crafts tricks up their sleeves, it’s no surprise they’ll surprise you!

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