How to make maracas with kids

Got rhythm? You can make maracas with kids from many easily acquired materials. Though similar instruments exist all over the world, traditional maracas made of dried gourds originally came from Puerto Rico. The shaking of dried seeds inside the gourd creates the sound. Use any number of hollow containers with small items sealed inside to make your maracas. Decorate the outside in bright colours and get shaking.

Yoghurt cup maracas

Make maracas with kids using yoghurt cups or similar lidded containers. Wash and dry the container. Cut a small slit in the lid, just large enough to squeeze in a craft stick. Use electrical or masking tape to secure the stick on both sides of the lid. Place 2 tablespoons of rice, popcorn kernels or other small noisemakers inside the container. Put the lid on the container and seal it shut with the tape. Cover the container and stick, if desired, with contact paper in a bright colour. Attach brightly coloured foam or regular stickers to the maraca for decoration.

Use helium-quality balloons and papier-mache to make maracas. Put 2 tablespoons of rice, popcorn kernels or beans into the balloon. Blow up the balloon and tie it closed. Cut four 5cm (2-inch) long slits in one end of a toilet paper roll. Attach the fanned-out roll to the balloon with masking tape. Mix equal parts flour and water to create papier-mache. Dip 30cm (foot) long newspaper strips in the paste, then layer over the balloon. Cover the entire balloon and toilet paper roll in crisscrossed strips of newspaper at least two strips thick. Allow the balloon to dry overnight. When dry, paint and decorate as desired.

Create maracas from disposable plastic plates in your choice of colour. Decorate the reverse side of two plates with stickers or permanent markers. Lay one plate down as if to eat from it. Place 2 tablespoons of small noisemakers, such as rice, on the plate. Place the other plate upside down on top of the first. Seal the edges with coloured masking or electrical tape. Decorate the edges of the plate with feathers or decorative yarn if desired. Tape a large craft stick to the bottom of the plates to complete your maraca.

Use plastic disposable cups of any size and colour to create maracas with kids. Pour 2 tablespoons of noise-making items into one of the cups. Place another cup the same size upside down on top of it. Seal the cups together with coloured masking tape or electrical tape. Decorate the cups with stickers or permanent markers. Grasp this maraca around the middle and shake.

Make water bottle maracas. Place 2 tablespoons of noisemakers such as beans or rice into an empty, completely dry water bottle. Replace the lid tightly. Cut brightly coloured tissue paper into strips. Dip a paintbrush in white school glue and attach the tissue paper by laying it on the bottle, then painting over it with the glue. Cover the sides and bottom of the water bottle, to within 5cm (2 iches) of the lid, with tissue paper. Turn the bottle upside down and place the neck in a narrow glass or other container to dry. When dry, use coloured masking or electrical tape to wrap around the bottle's neck from the tissue paper to the lid as a handle for your maraca.

Things You'll Need

  • Lidded yoghurt or similar cups
  • Craft sticks
  • Contact paper
  • Electrical tape
  • Stickers, foam if desired
  • Rice, popcorn kernels, dried beans or seeds
  • Balloons
  • Papier-mache paste (flour and water)
  • 30cm (foot-long) strips of newspaper
  • Paint and brushes
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Plastic disposable plates
  • Markers
  • Feathers and decorative yarn or string
  • Masking tape, coloured if desired
  • Paper or plastic cups
  • Water bottles
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue
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About the Author

Elizabeth Stover, an 18 year veteran teacher and author, has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Maryland with a minor in sociology/writing. Stover earned a masters degree in education curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas, Arlington and continues to work on a masters in Educational Leadership from University of North Texas. Stover was published by Creative Teaching Press with the books "Science Tub Topics" and "Math Tub Topics."