Over the next few days, I’ll be showing you some of the simple homemade musical instruments that I created with the kids, it’s such a fun way to experiment with sound.
All of these can be put together using inexpensive items from around the home or from the local grocery store!
If you are a parent, then you probably know that kids love to make noise. Make no mistake about it though, when they are making and playing musical instruments they are learning and building experiences that they will draw from for the rest of their lives.
Exploration involves getting messy and being noisy. And, if like me, somehow that noise doesn’t bother you, you can get involved in the noise-making and become a kid again for an afternoon and you will love it!
We began with this homemade French horn.
Homemade French Horn
This was one of the first homemade musical instruments we made. It was inspired and created by one of my children after an afternoon picnic in the park listening to a brass band playing.
We didn’t have an awful lot to make it with at the time, but he was extremely happy with the results and he has since gone on to make many more fun musical instruments.
We have used a piece of black corrugated pipe with some strong pipe cleaners to tie it with, but a piece of hosepipe and some tape or garden wire would have done just fine.
What You Will Need
- Length of pipe (about 55 inch in length and ½ to 1 inch wide)
- Pipe cleaners or tape or wire
- Push the funnel into the pipe. Hopefully, it will be a nice snug fit, but if not you will have to glue or tape the funnel onto the pipe. If the funnel is too big for the pipe, cut the pipe and then fit it around the funnel then secure it with tape.
- Holding the funnel end pointing up, loop the pipe around twice. Making sure you have enough pipe left to have the mouthpiece also pointing up
- Secure the pipe with pipe cleaners, tape, or wire.
We then got a little more adventurous with homemade drums.
Kids love the sound of these drums. And yet you don’t need any special bits to create them with. If you can dig out an old tin can, or spare a storage container or cake pan for a while they can make themselves a great little drum set.
What You Will Need
- Selection of Tin cans, storage containers or cake pan
- Balloons, small average size for tin cans and a punch ball sized balloon for large items
- Elastic bands or tape
- Patterned tape and colored elastic bands for decoration (optional)
- Make sure any tin cans are clean dry and free of any Sharpe edges. For the small drum cut the top off the balloon and stretch it over the can.
- Secure the balloon with an elastic band or tape.
- For the storage container and cake pan, cut the top from one of the punch ball balloons.
- If like my balloon, you have a rather large tip (the bit where the elastic is attached) you will need to tie this off or you will end up with a large gaping hole in the middle of the drum. To do this, cut the stronger rolled opening band off the piece of balloon you have just removed, and tightly knot it around the tip to tie it off.
- Turn the balloon inside out and stretch it over the container or pan, and secure with an elastic band or tape.
- Use patterned tape or elastic bands for decoration.
Next were the homemade maracas, lots of fun to make and a little messy.
A great fun project for adults and children alike, homemade maracas are definitely enjoyable musical instruments to make. This is a project where you can really get involved and possibly a little messy in the process.
What you will need
- Two plastic bottles (I’ve used milkshake bottles)
- 2 handful’s of either rice, pasta, lentils, or beads
- Two sturdy toilet rolls
- Masking tape
For the paper mache
- News paper strips
- 1 cup Flour
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 cup WaterHow to make them
- Place a handful of either rice, pasta, lentils or beads into each bottle, screw the lids on and give it a shake. Once you are happy with the sound and feel of them, secure the lids with glue.
- Place the neck of the bottles into the toilet rolls glue or tape in place with masking tape.
- Place a cross over the bottom of the toilet roll with the masking tape.
- To make up the paper mache paste, place the flour and salt in to a bowl, add the water and mix until smooth.
- Dip the newspaper strips in to the paper mache paste then run the paper through your fingers to wipe off the excess. Cover the maracas with 3 layers of paper mache, then leave to dry overnight.
- Once the paper mache has dried complexly, cover with three more layers, and then once again leave to dry overnight.
- Your maracas are now ready for painting and decorating. I’ve painted mine with blue acrylic paint and glued on some zig-zag strips that I cut out of foam.
Sight and sound musical instruments are very popular with little ones, that was our next task.
Kids Visual Bottles
Sight and sound musical instruments are very popular with little ones, and these visual bottles can be created very easily with a clear bottle and a selection of nick-nacks.
Homemade Rain Shaker
This first bottle is called a rain shaker and is made from a clear bottle, rice, and cocktail sticks (tooth picks). By twisting and moving the bottle in various positions you can watch and hear the rice trickle in and around the toothpicks giving a very relaxing and therapeutic raining sound.
What you will need
- Clear bottle
- Lots of toothpicks
- Decoration (optional)
How to make it
- Make sure the bottle you are using is clean and completely dry; when you are short on time I find a hair dryer on a low heat can quicken this progress up incredibly
- Fill the bottle with the cocktail sticks leaving a small gap at the top.
- The amount of rice you need will depend on the size and shape of the bottle. I find it easier to add a small amount of the rice, then pop the lid on and try it out. Once you are completely happy with the sight and sound, glue on the lid.
Transform an empty water bottle into an extremely interesting sight and sound instrument by adding a few simple objects to it. I like to add a diverse selection of bright and sparkly objects of different sizes and shapes so that the child can pick out the hart shape button or bright yellow bead whilst playing with it.
What you will need
- Small Clear bottle
- Glue or tape
- Things you can add; buttons, beads, sparkly shaped objects, pasta, rice, lentils
How to make it
- Make sure the bottle you are using is clean and completely dry; as I mentioned before, a hair dryer on a low heat can quicken this progress up incredibly.
- Add the chosen objects, and then glue or tape on the bottle lid.
If you are stuck for time here are two quick and simple ideas.
Simple homemade musical instruments
The Plastic Easter Egg Shakers
These little guys are fun to take anywhere. And, they mimic a higher-priced egg shaker available at many music stores.
Plastic Easter eggs, dry grains (rice, beans of different sizes, macaroni noodles, popcorn seeds).
- Open an Easter egg of your preferred color.
- Fill half of the open egg with 1-2 Tablespoons of dry grains (again you can experiment with different items for different sounds, even consider a few pennies).
- Close the egg and shake your home made musical instruments.
The Pie Tin Tambourine
You can make these fun tambourines in about twenty minutes. Try making several and filling them with different items to hear how it affects the sound they make.
Disposable aluminum pie tins (tart size works best), masking tape or packaging tape, dry grains (rice, beans of different sizes, macaroni noodles, popcorn seeds).
- Fill one pie/tart tin with a handful of the dry grains of your choice.
- Sandwich the other tin upside-down on top of the filled tin.
- Use masking tape or packaging tape to secure them together all the way around.
- Shake and enjoy.
- You might want to play some music to shake along to. This helps kids develop a rhythm.