How to Make Your Own Instruments at Home

A young boy plays his shakers excitedly

How to Make Your Own Instruments at Home

As the weather continues to get chillier by the day and keeps us inside, you may feel like you’re running out of activities to keep your children (and their limitless energy) occupied! Why not try making your own instruments?

Research shows that the first few years of life are critical for developing children’s understanding and appreciation for music. Children learn music just like they learn language, through immersion and experimentation. Similarly to how you encourage your baby’s babbles and speak to him long before he can say anything back, singing and dancing with your child at home jumpstarts a lifetime love of music.

This activity is engaging, educational, tons of fun, and can be done from the comfort of your warm living room. You can also invite friends over for a wonderful musical play date!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Empty water bottle (with lid) or a small plastic Tupperware container
  • “Shaker” items – dried beans (no kidney beans), lentils, rice, O-shaped cereal, etc.

(Note: If you are completing this activity with young children, be aware that some dried beans can be a choking hazard for little ones.)

  • Mailing labels or stickers
  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils
  • Clear tape
  • Newspaper (optional for work surface)

Once you’ve gathered your materials, you can follow the steps below to make your instruments:

  1. Set up an instrument-making station, complete with containers; bowls of beans, rice, cereal or other shaker items; and decorating materials. (Tip: Newspaper or construction paper beneath the station will ensure easy clean up.)
  2. Fill your containers with varying amounts of beans or other shaker items, but always make sure there is a little bit of empty space for maximum shake-ability. Experiment with your little one by seeing how different amounts make different sounds!
  3. Color the sheet of mailing labels to use for decorating your instruments. Any type of sticker also works great for this.
  4. Use tape to seal instrument tops so that they won’t pop open when shaken vigorously. Not only will this prevent spills, but it will help keep the dried goods out of reach of children.

Now you’re ready to jam! Turn on your favorite music and get grooving, dancing and shaking with your child and her new instruments.

Do you and your little one like to create music at home? Share pictures of your instruments or videos of your kids jamming below to inspire other families!

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