10 Homemade Musical instruments

by Deb on October 27, 2009

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Sound is a major part of energy and change, and that includes music.  Production through movement and sound waves, harmonics, pitch, are all part of science.  And it is something little kids and babies have a ball with.

It is also the perfect game to experiment with, literally.  When I was doing the photo shoot the girls kept bringing me other things to add.  You can test different sizes, different materials, different strikers, even do things like add water.  Keep playing around and you get immediate feedback with different sounds to compare.

1.  Drums


2.  Shakers


Here are rice, pasta, coins and water in plastic and cardboard containers.

3.  Trumpet


This is PVC pipe, electrical conduit is even better because you can get a proper trumpet sound.

4.  Ridges


5.  Guitar

Stringed Instrument

This is hair elastics over a small plastic container, you can use cardboard or frames.

6.  Cymbals


Try hitting them together or using a striker.

7.  Xylophone


Glass isn’t really for the little ones, but tins that have been cut safely can be used too.  Add water and use different strikers.

8.  Clapping sticks

Clapping Sticks

Different or the same.  Different materials.

9.  Voices


We all sing, but what ways can you make your voice sound different? Block your ears, block your nose, cover your mouth, make a megaphone.

10.  Harmonica


A comb covered in baking paper, cellophane works better.  Stretch it out, it’s a bit like playing a gumleaf.

Comment on how you make and play with musical instruments at home. Do you experiment with different things?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Catherine October 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm

These would be fun experiments. I especially like the idea of playing with changing your voice.


momi October 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Hehe I actually winced when I saw the peg on Molly’s nose!


Deb October 27, 2009 at 3:15 pm

What’s the saying? “No children were harmed in the making of this post.”
I do try things out before getting the kids to do anything, it’s a nice soft peg 😀 But they love doing things like that and talking, it causes screams of hysterics. I should dig out some of the photos of Molly with 20 pegs in her hair!


Julie October 29, 2009 at 9:22 pm

My 2 y.o. has started using the shakers (plastic medicine containers) as drums, and maracas as drum sticks – and we march around the house!!! It’s loud but so much fun! I’ll try making a guitar tomorrow – but being a boy there aren’t many hair elastics around…rubber bands instead maybe?


Deb October 29, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Rubber bands would work well. The advantage of hair elastics are that there are so many different types, but you can get multi-size packs of rubber bands as well. I sometimes think there’s a direct relationship between noise and fun for kids!


Moira October 30, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Great article! Baby girl here gets bored with her toys very quickly and I was contemplating making another run for toys (otherwise known here as plastic cr*p from China) but this should keep us going for at least a week. I try to lighten our environmental footprint where I can and this blog is an inspiration to me as I’m clueless about 1)science stuff and 2) crafty stuff so struggle to think of fun, green things to do that also entertain bub and stimulate that growing brain. Thanks Deb!


Deb November 3, 2009 at 12:40 am

Thankyou for such a lovely comment! I admit I often feel I’m drowning under all the girls things. Writing this blog is great for me too, because it means I have to try at least one new activity every week. We haven’t been able to get stuck in that rut since I started. Plus the girls both adore cameras!


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