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Learn and play with homemade instruments

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

Make your own kitchen band

Music is a great creative outlet for kids — as well as an easy way to keep them occupied — but you don't have to buy expensive instruments to encourage your little Mozart to make music. From kids' instruments like paper plate tambourines to DIY instruments like musical spoons, learn and play with homemade instruments by using what you already have in your cupboards.

Paper plate tambourine

Paper plate tambourine

Whether it's too hot to play outside or you're ready to banish boredom on the fly, you can strike up this kitchen band staple in a few shakes!

What you'll need:

  • 2 heavy-duty paper plates
  • Hole punch
  • String or yarn
  • Jingle bells
  • Markers or crayons

What you'll do:

  1. Hold two paper plates face to face and punch holes around the perimeter of the plates about an inch and a half apart to string your yarn.
  2. Take your length of yarn and weave it up through a hole, around the outside and back up the same hole again and tie a knot to secure the plates together. Then, string a jingle bell through your yarn and continue weaving your plate. Alternate your jingle bells every other hole or more, depending on how many bells you have.
  3. When you get back to the hole in which you started, tie off your yarn again and let your child decorate his DIY instrument to make it his own. Then, shake to play and your kid's instrument is ready for the big show!

Get tips on how to expose your kids to classic music >> 

Cardboard roll horn

Cardboard roll horn

Part horn and part kazoo, these easy-to-make kids' instruments equal instant fun! Simply use an empty toilet paper roll or paper towel roll to get your kids on the move.

What you'll need:

  • Cardboard roll
  • Waxed paper
  • Rubber band
  • Markers, crayons or other embellishments to decorate

What you'll do:

  1. Cut a piece of waxed paper large enough to fit the opening of your cardboard roll.
  2. Place waxed paper over one end of your roll and secure with a rubber band.
  3. Have your child decorate his horn with markers, crayons, stickers or any craft supplies you have around the house.
  4. Finally, let your kiddo unleash his inner rock star as he hums, yells and creates tunes in the open end of his DIY instrument!
  5. Optional: You can also poke a hole in your tube and let your youngster experiment with sounds by covering and uncovering the hole with his finger as he plays.

Discover 10 Reasons why your child should play a musical instrument >> 

Water bottle guiro

Water bottle guiro

While you may be hard pressed to find a washboard laying around for your kids' band, but an empty water bottle has the same effect when your child's kitchen band is ready to strike up a tune!

What you'll need:

  • Empty, dry 16-ounce water bottle with ridges
  • Chopstick
  • Paint

What you'll do:

  1. Pour a small amount of paint inside the water bottle and swirl around to coat. Replace cap.
  2. Have your child hold the empty water bottle in one hand with the cap facing away from him.
  3. Take the chopstick and place it in his other hand and have him rub the ridges of the water bottle up and down to make music to your ears!

Musical spoons

Musical spoons

A couple of spoons are all you needed to make your own kids' band worthy of a front porch concert!

What you'll need:

  • Two metal spoons
  • Small piece of paper (optional)
  • Rubber band (optional)

What you'll do:

  1. In order to make this DIY instrument work, you'll need to place two spoons back to back so that the round parts are facing one another.
  2. Hold one spoon between your child's first and middle fingers.
  3. Hold the second spoon between your child's middle and ring fingers.
  4. Then, teach them to slap the spoons on their palms or knees along with the words of your favorite childhood song!
  5. Optional: Younger band members may have trouble balancing the spoons between their fingers, so you can roll up a small piece of paper, place between the spoons and loosely weave the rubber band around the paper and the spoons to hold in place. Then, have your child hold the spoons by the paper roll and rock on!

Read more about kids and music

An iPod for your infant
Why your child should listen to music
Making music with your kids

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