Homemade musical instruments are a way to get kids involved in the process of open-ended play. Whether they are involved in the steps it takes to make the musical instrument or not, the creativity in making ordinary objects part of music helps them see the world a little differently. In fact, knobby puzzle pieces have been used as cymbals and bowls as drums. Exploring music is vital to intellectual development, so I have compiled a list of 10+ ways to make homemade musical instruments.
My daughter has been enamored with music and sounds since before she was born. She was that baby that bounced to music in my womb and jumped at the sound of her dad’s kisses even before birth. We have tried to foster her love of all things music by exploring sound, dancing, and music whenever possible. One of the best ways for us to accomplish this is by making homemade musical instruments.If you are looking for basic ways to introduce music to your children, please read my post on Music for Language and Math Development in Kids. I go through 7 ways (1 for each day) to get your kids involved in music and I have 16 scholarly sources documented showing the importance of music for neural development.
Musical instruments don’t have to be fancy or expensive, which is why homemade musical instruments are so fun and precious in our family. There are so many ideas to upcycle old materials to make new instruments and even to just use what’s lying around the house to have a family music party! This post contains an affiliate link. If you choose to purchase, thank you for helping support my family.
10 Homemade Musical Instruments
If you have whisks lying around your house, then you have the ability to make some quick and easy homemade maracas. My favorite way to do this is to find some jingle bells and fill the whisk with it by pushing back one of the wires to stuff them inside. You can even make different sounds with different maracas by varying the size of the whisk and/or the bells.
Rubber Band Guitar
It’s as simple as finding an old box and a variety of rubber bands. This one from Dirt and Boogers is the prime example of how to do this. I love that she even uses a variety of colored rubber bands. I know that the thickness of the band can change the sound so everything from the classic green on newspapers to the thick purple of produce, find some fun sounds to make with those rubber bands.
What kid doesn’t love banging things together?! And of course, we don’t want glass lids broken or anything too crazy happening, right? So the perfect solution for us was to use some metal condiment cups. They make great music makers when hit together and their sound is not completely deafening. 😉
Homemade Shakers and Noise Makers
Again, the metal condiment cups come in extremely handy. We fill one side with nuts and/or beans, place the other open side on top and wrap a rubber band around them. Of course you can also do this with Easter eggs as well.
We have also made a shaker out of an oatmeal container. We attached rubber bands on the side and down the length of it so that there was the option to pluck for sounds as well. School Time Snippets even has a great noise maker that they made for the 4th of July that would be a fun music project.
Gock Block and Crow Sounder
All you really need for a crow sounder is an old tin can and a kitchen utensil to run across the ribs of the can. They also make great gock block and drums, especially is you attach them to a dowel rod or something to make it easy to hold. (Just be sure that you have sanded any sharp edges and/or appropriately dealt with any safety concerns)
And Next Comes L has a great tutorial on making a Homemade Rainbow Xylophone out of scrap wood. It’s both beautiful and functional! Laughing Kids Learn also has an activity using water in glasses to explore xylophone sounds!
Homemade Outdoor Play Areas
While some people go all out with metal pipes and professional looking music stations, it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Play Dr. Mom has some quick and easy ideas on how to make a music area outside for play and exploration.
I absolutely love this homemade musical instrument from Pink Stripey Socks. It’s a rattle drum (or as some call it a monkey drum). This is a great intro into music for little babies and even a fun toy for older children as well. You just need a few things from around the house like spare cardboard and twine, and you can make this fun and easy instrument.
This great idea from Laughing Kids Learn incorporates the simple aboriginal clapping sounds by using paint stirring sticks. This would make both a great instrument and a great art project for your tots and kids. Such a fun and easy way to re-use old paint stir sticks too!
“Castanets” (Clip Clop Sound)
These coconut shell instruments from Two-Daloo make that sound as well!(Plus they are extremely cute and easier for young kids to use)This would be such a fun way to explore the sounds around us and how we can replicate them. Definitely a great upcycle, learning lesson, and of course homemade musical instrument.
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!