by Shauna Tominey
Paper Plate Shakers
Two paper plates
Set one paper plate down on the table. Place a handful of
beans on the plate. Set the other plate face down on the
first plate. Staple the two plates together around the
edges. Make sure the staples are close enough together
so that the beans cannot fall out! Decorate the outside of
the plates with markers or stickers. Shake and have fun!
Paper Plate Tambourine
Use scissors to cut a hole in the center of the paper plate.
Use the hole punch to punch several holes around the
outside of the plate. Thread a small piece of string
through each hole and tie bells to the paper plate.
Decorate with stickers or markers. Shake, jingle, and have
Jingle Bell Bracelets
Two pipe cleaners
String three or four bells on a pipe cleaner. Take a
second pipe cleaner and wind it around the first to hold the
bells in place. Twist the ends together to form a bracelet.
Hold bracelets in hand or wear on arms and legs while
Jingle Bell Sticks
A wooden chopstick or pencil
String two or three bells onto a pipe cleaner. Wrap the
pipe cleaner around the wooden chopstick and twist each
end together to secure. Shake and have fun!
Assorted filler material (pennies, beans)
Hammer nails about an inch apart along the spiral seam of
the mailing tube. Take care that the nails do not poke
through the other side of the tube. Wrap the tube with
tape to hold the nails in place. Put a handful of assorted
filler material into the tube. Seal both ends securely. Turn
the mailing tube over end to end to hear the filler material
clatter against the nails. Decorate the outside of the tube
with markers or stickers.
*This activity requires help from an adult.
Cymbals and Drums
Items from your kitchen:
Hit wooden spoons together as rhythm sticks. Use metal
bowls as drums and wooden spoons as drum sticks. Clank
metal lids together as cymbals. Explore your cabinets and
create a band!
Paper towel tube
Colored tissue paper or ribbon
Cut tissue paper or ribbon into long strips. Tape the tissue
paper onto each end of the paper towel tube to make a
colorful baton - perfect for dancing!
Paper towel tube
Use markers to decorate the paper towel tube. Cut a 5-
inch square piece of wax paper. Use the rubber band to
secure the wax paper over one end of the paper towel
tube. Hum into the open end of the kazoo.
Jingle Bell Friends
Twist pipe cleaners into bugs, animals, or holiday shapes.
Add bells to the ends of legs, arms, etc. to make musical
friends. Shake them along to your favorite songs.
Small cardboard box or holiday tin
Paper Towel Tube
Tape (packaging, masking, or duct)
Stretch the rubber bands across the box or tin. Secure
them in place on either end with tape. Attach the paper
towel tube to the box or tin with tape to form the neck of
the guitar. Use markers or stickers to decorate. Strum
away and have fun!
Poke wooden chopsticks or dowel rods through the end of
the paper towel tube to look like tuners!
1 container with a lid
(ex: plastic bottle, box)
(ex: beans, pasta, rice, oatmeal)
Fill the container with the filler material and decorate the
outside. Seal securely and shake! Every filler will make a
You can use drinking glasses that are the same size or a
variety of different sizes. Help your child fill each with a
different amount of water. Allow your child to play the
xylophone by gently tapping each glass with the wooden
spoon. How does the amount of water in each glass
change the sound? Do glasses with the most water sound
highest or lowest?
2 Paper towel tubes
Tear strips of newspaper and stuff them into the paper
towel tubes. Fill the tubes completely with newspaper and
seal the ends with tape. Use markers or stickers to
decorate the outside of the rhythm sticks. Beat them
together to make music!
Mix and Match Egg Shakers
Fillers (pennies, pasta, beans)
Fill pairs of plastic eggs with different types of fillers (ie two
eggs with pasta, two eggs with beans, two eggs with
pennies*). Use the eggs as shakers and play them along
with your favorite music, or mix up the eggs and try to
match them by sound!
*Parent tip: Choose items that are easily cleaned up in
case the eggs are opened!
Drill (or a hammer and nail)*
Markers or paint
Decorate your paint stick with markers or paint. Drill a hole
at one end of the paint stick or use the hammer and nail to
punch a small hole. Thread a two-foot piece of string
through the hole and tie securely. Hold the end of the
string and swing the bullroarer around over your head.
The bullroarer will spin and make a helicopter-like sound.
*This activity requires adult assistance.
Parent tip: This activity needs a lot of space! Be sure to
try it in a large room or even outside.
Teacher tip: This Australian instrument is a great way to
introduce world cultures into the classroom!
Paper Bag Maracas
Small Paper Bag
Markers or Paint
Decorate the outside of your paper bag with markers or
paint. When dry, place a handful of dried beans inside the
bag. Tie the bag securely shut with string. Have children
hold the closed end of the bag and shake away!
Oatmeal/cylindrical container with lid
Bells or dried beans
Tape or glue
Help your child put a few bells or a handful of beans in the
oatmeal container. Seal the lid with tape or glue. Let your
child decorate the outside with markers, crayons, or
stickers. You now have a rolling shaker! Children can roll it
back and forth to one another while listening to music.
Infants and toddlers can also enjoy crawling or toddling
after this musical toy!
Two Large Plastic Buttons
Cut a strip of thick cardboard (1”x6”). Help children fold the
cardboard strips in half. Glue the large buttons on the
inside ends of the cardboard. Now squeeze the cardboard
ends together to make a clicking sound!
Two wooden blocks
Staple sandpaper to one side of each wooden block. Clap
and rub the blocks together for a great percussion sound.
Help children play them along with their favorite songs!
Design Your Own!
Be creative, have fun, and create your own musical
instruments out of recycled materials and art supplies.