How to make musical instruments for children

How to make musical instruments for children

Two projects in one, that is what my make musical instruments from found objects is all about. It is a good project for moms and preschoolers, teachers, and homeschoolers. My kindergarten class enjoyed it very much.



gift wrap or construction paper
Magic markers or crayons
optional: sparkles, ribbons, and other add-ons.
jingle bells
dried beans
wrapped hard candy


Make sure these are empty and clean

Metal Coffee can 11 oz, 13oz or larger with the cover. You can use several.

Plastic soda bottle (individual size for easy holding)

Other cans I’ve used with covers are: ice tea canister, chip canister, other powdered drink canister. Any of these will work.

Pot lids

Wooden spoons

Line up all your material. Before you decorate the “instruments” you need to put in the contents which will make the “music”.

A handful of popcorn in a plastic soda bottle makes a shaker nose similar to the kind used in Spanish music.

A metal can with a handful of pennies makes a shaker and metallic sound.

Other sounds are made with beans in a covered can, covered candy, jingle bells. Each one sounds differently.

The pot lids hit with a wooden sound are the cymbals. If you don’t want to use pot lids you can use metal pie pans.

Another alternative is to take the disposable pie pans, add jingle bells, seal with masking tape.

Once all the noise makers are added to the found objects, it is time to decorate. Your little band will want to make their instruments as pretty and colorful as possible.

Gift wrap paper either new or used makes easy covers. Mom and teacher will cut out the wrapping paper to fit. Glue this on the instruments. Let the kids decorate with crayons, magic markets, ribbons, tiny flowers, sparkles, or other craft material. Alternative: cover with construction paper and decorate.

The pie plates with jingle bells will need wide ribbon glued around to cover up the masking tape.

Once you get started with this project you’ll see many other ways you can decorate the instruments. Let the children suggest designs. Let them be whimsical.

Now you call the children for music time. You can play piano or put on a tape or cd of instrumental music with a beat. The children line up for a marching band. They march around the room each holding their own musical instruments. What will sound like noise to you will be music to them as they play their instruments and march around the room.

This project works best with preschool age children through first grade, but even second and third graders will enjoy the break from routine.
Some cautions: Don’t use anything breakable. Seal all the tops closed so children can’t open them and taste the contents.

Enjoy! This will keep the kids busy a half hour to an hour. You can break it up into two projects. One day to do the crafts. One day to play the marching band. Make sure each child’s name is on the instrument they made. Save these and use them over and over again.

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