Making simple musical instruments is a great way for children to learn about history, music theory and how sound can be created and amplified using household objects. Ancient civilisations used basic materials to create drums, guitars and maracas. These instruments can be recreated with materials that can be found at any grocery or craft store. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you make musical instruments for kids using basic materials.
Make a homemade drum. Cut a 2-inch hole in the bottom of an empty oatmeal container. Paint the outside of the container with tempera paint. Let the paint dry completely. Cut a piece of waxed paper approximately 14 inches square. Stretch the waxed paper over the opening of the container, securing it by winding yarn around the top. Tie the yarn tightly and carefully stretch the waxed paper taut.
Make a homemade guitar. Paint the outside of an empty shoebox and let it dry completely. Cut a 3-inch hole in the centre of the box. Press 6 brass fasteners into the top of one end of the box, and 6 more into the top of the opposite side. Cut through 6 rubber bands to make long rubber strips. For each rubber strip, tie one end to a brass fastener and the other end to the opposite fastener, making sure that it is stretched taut before tying it down. Cut open an empty toilet paper roll lengthwise, then flatten it. Slip it underneath the rubber band strings, lifting them up to allow the sound of the strumming to enter the hole.
Make a homemade maraca. Paint the bottoms of 2 paper plates. Let them dry completely. Pour about 1/4 cup of dried beans into the middle of one of the plates, then place the other plate on top of it. Staple all the way around the plate edges, making sure not to leave any large spaces between the staples.
Help small children to use scissors and the stapler.