How to Make Homemade Musical Instruments for Children

Updated April 17, 2017

Parents who are looking for a rainy day activity, or just have children who enjoy creative crafts, can assemble homemade musical instruments to amuse kids. Many can be built with recyclables and items already around the house. Children will have just as much fun making the crafts as they will playing with them, and they may even pick up some musical skills and talents. Invite some friends over and they just might create their own band.

Make a drum. A drum can be made out of any empty large recyclable container, but a large coffee can or oatmeal container is ideal for this project. Help children cover the container with construction paper and decorate it with crayons. Provide new, unsharpened pencils for drum sticks and children will figure out the rest.

Create a guitar. Remove the top of a shoebox and attach a stick or ruler to one end to make the arm of the guitar. Wrap five large rubber bands of different widths across the shoebox. Children can pluck the bands or strum them just like a real guitar.

Put together a tambourine or maraca. Staple two paper plates together so their tops face each other. In "9 Easy to Make Musical Instruments for Kids," Kinder Art suggests using a hole punch to place holes around the outside of the plates. Then use string to tie jingle bells on the holes to make a tambourine. For a maraca sound, fill the plates with dry beans before stapling them together.

Provide materials for a water xylophone. Gather 6 to 8 glasses or jars. According to PBS Kids in "Glass Xylophone," children should fill each container with different amounts of water. Children can tap each one with a spoon to figure out the different tones created, and can experiment with them to make their own song.

Create an outdoor musical tree. Make a tree into an enormous wind chime by tying items to its branches. In "Magical Music Tree," Family Fun suggests using heavy-duty fishing line to tie different lengths of copper pipe or other metal items such as old pie plates to a tree. Give children wooden spoons to gently hit the items and create different sounds.


Make recyclable containers available to children along with other craft supplies and watch them create their own musical instruments. Children will use items such as cardboard paper towel tubes, rubber bands, construction paper and tape to come up with new, creative instruments.


Consider the age of the children involved with this project. Small objects should be kept out of reach of young children who could choke on them, and materials such as glass should be used by older children under close supervision.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty coffee can or oatmeal container
  • Clear tape
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons
  • 2 unsharpened pencils
  • Empty shoebox
  • Ruler or long stick
  • 5 rubber bands
  • 2 paper plates
  • Stapler
  • Dry beans
  • Jingle Bells
  • String
  • 6 to 8 empty jars or glasses
  • Heavy-duty fishing line
  • Metal pieces such as pie plates or old pipe
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Based in upstate New York, Laura Wilson entered the writing community in 2010. She writes about children, education and health-related topics for various websites. Wilson has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Houghton College.