How children can make a homemade woodwind instrument

Updated April 17, 2017

Making homemade musical instruments is a fun and educational activity to do with children. Woodwind instruments are not as complicated as they might seem. A woodwind instrument is basically a column, or other type of structure, that wind passes through. Manipulating the flow of the air with your lips, mouth or fingers allows you to produce different pitches with the instrument. Some woodwind instruments use reeds to control the flow of the air.

Make a horn with a paper towel roll. Cover the end of the paper towel roll with a piece of waxed paper. Secure the waxed paper with a rubber band. Punch a row of holes in the top of the paper towel roll with a pencil or pen. Blow into the open end of the horn. Finger the different holes and try out different sounds.

Turn a garden hose into a trumpet. Cut a piece of old garden hose into a 90 cm (3 feet) long section. Make a horn with a funnel or the top of a plastic bottle. Insert the horn into one end of the garden hose and secure it with duct tape. Coil the garden hose so that it is in the shape of a French horn. Secure the shape with duct tape.

Make a comb kazoo. Fold a piece of paper in half. Insert the comb inside of the paper. Hold one end of the comb with your fingers and place your lips against the paper. Experiment with different sounds and techniques. Kazoos mimic other instruments and the sound varies depending on what you do with your lips. Singing into the comb kazoo produces one effect, imitating trumpets and saxophones with your mouth produces a different effect.

Create an oboe with a straw. This is the simplest instrument to make. Pinch the bottom end of a straw between your thumb and index fingers. Blow across the top end, but don't blow into the straw. Alter the pitch by moving your thumb and index finger up and down while they are still pinching the straw. Gain more control over the little straw oboe by cutting the top end. This works like a double reed that produces a little more tonal variation.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen towel roll
  • Waxed paper
  • Rubber band
  • Pen or pencil
  • Garden hose
  • Duct tape
  • Funnel or plastic bottle
  • Comb
  • Paper
  • Straw
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.