Most toddlers LOVE music. However, while we parents may think we need to run out and buy an expensive musical toy, the fact is, most little ones will be happy with “musical instruments” that are easily made at home. For a parent, the benefits are that they are free and that they can be made out of recycled items.
Shakers are so easy to make, and toddlers love the sound! You can take an empty plastic jug like a juice jug and wash it out thoroughly. Once it’s dry, fill it with rice or beans. Then, put on the lid and tape it securely to the jar. Your child can decorate the jar or leave it as is. He’ll love carrying it around the house shaking it.
Another option is to make a smaller shaker with a toilet paper roll. Simply cut out two pieces of cardboard to cover the ends of the shaker. Put one in place and tape down. Then fill the toilet paper roll with a small bit of rice. Put on the second piece of cardboard to cover the other end and tape it down. Your child can color on the cardboard, if she’d like. This shaker is best for toddlers who no longer put items in their mouths as the cardboard could disintegrate quickly when wet.
Do you have an empty plastic coffee container or an empty cardboard container? These simple containers make the perfect drum for your little one. Just give him a wooden spoon for the drum stick, and he can make music all day long. Another option is to simply let him use his hands to hit the top of the drum to make music.
If you have metal lids for your pots or pans, simply give your child two to make an instant cymbal. If you don’t have these at homes (we have glass lids, for instance) you can likely find these at the nearest Goodwill or other thrift store.
Simply take a craft stick and hot glue a metal bell to the end. Your child can shake the stick and hear the bell ringing.
Take an empty tissue box (rectangular shape is best), and put several rubber bands around the box at the opening. Your child can strum her fingers across the rubber band to make her own music with her “guitar.”
Take a metal hanger and some rope or twine. Cut the twine into strips about 10 to 12 inches long. Attach a metal washer to the end of each piece of twine. Then attach the twine to the bottom of the hanger. Put the twine strips fairly close together (a little less than the distance of the washer). Children can hang this up outside to listen when the breeze blows it, or they can run their hands gently along it to make the washers chime.
What are your favorite homemade musical instruments to help your kids make?