To introduce young children to music and playing instruments, it is best to start simple and work your way up to the more complicated instruments. Some of the simplest instruments that even toddlers can play are shakers. Shakers can include instruments such as the tambourine, hand bells and the maracas. All that it takes to play these instruments is the flick of the wrist. Fortunately, these instruments are also simple to make. Below you will find some tips that may help you with your next musical instrument craft.
The basics of making a musical shaker
The basic idea behind the construction of a musical instrument that works by shaking it is that there is some kind of container filled with a material that makes the desired sound when agitated. For example, a maraca is nothing more than a vessel with a handle that is filled with dry rice, beans or pellets. When the instrument is held and shaken, the pellets hit the sides of the maraca and the shaker sound is created. So applying this concept to a craft is simple. You can take something like a jar or even a paper plate that is folded in half, fill it with rice, beans, plastic pellets, beads, etc. and seal the container. That’s all it takes! Here are some more specific examples of how you can take this and other simple concepts and make many different shaker instruments.
To make this instrument you will need: 2 paper plates, a stapler or glue, hole punch, string
jingle bells, and crayons. To begin, staple or glue two paper plates together. The plates need to be facing each other. Using a hole punch, make holes around the plates and tie jingle bells to the holes with string. Decorate the tambourine with crayons. The thicker the plates are the more durable the tambourine will be. You also want to make sure that the staples are secure or that they are covered in tape so that no one gets poked or scratched by exposed staples.
Another twist on this craft is to fill the gap in between the two plates with dry beans and then adhere the plates together. You could even use just one plate and fold it in half. Once you have sealed the beans into the plate(s), you can shake it to hear a completely different sound.
Making hand bells
To make hand bells you will need 2 paper towel rolls, a hole punch, 4 jingle bells and string or yarn. You will need to punch a hole in each end of the paper towel rolls. Tie two of the bells to each side of the paper towel rolls by running string or yarn through the holes. Be sure to use large knots to tie off the string. Shake to play.
Incorporating music lessons
You cannot take your crafts and use them to learn more about music and the sounds that we hear all around us. For example you can help your child record and play back the music that they play with their new instruments. You can ask them questions about why they think that their instrument is making the noises that it is making. You could then come up with subsequent musical instrument craft ideas based on their responses. If they made a shaker with rice, you could try making the same craft but this time use sand or beads. When making musical instrument crafts there will always be opportunities to teach your children something about music so be sure that you take advantage of that opportunity.