Start your family band by crafting some awesome homemade instruments. Most of these are super easy to make, and kids will have a blast banging on a tin can drum, shaking DIY maracas, and making some tunes. Looking for other creative projects for kids? Check out our collection of crafts for toddlers, classic paper crafts for kids, and things kids can make with toilet paper rolls.
Why Are Homemade Instruments Important?
Making and playing homemade instruments allows kids to use not only their artistic creativity but their musical creativity as well. In addition, according to the Ethnomusicology Review, “When fully engaged in musical invention, children can develop their naturally imaginative and participatory approach to learning.”
Our Favorite DIY Instruments You Can Make at Home
Cardboard Rain Stick
A rain stick makes the prettiest sound, and it’s very easy to make one at home with a few simple items. We love the tutorial for this found over at Kid Made Modern.
Perfect for toddlers who aren't ready for the real thing, we love this cardboard guitar spotted over at Pink Stripey Socks. You can paint it in any design, too!
Kids can twist and twirl these homemade hand drums to their heart's content! Find the tutorial over at Minted.
Bongo, Shaker, Güiro All in One
This fun little instrument is really three in one! Kids will enjoy shaking it or playing it as a drum and it's super easy to make. Get the tutorial over at Mama.Papa.Bubba.
This adorable nature-themed tambourine-like DIY instrument is the perfect addition to a May Day celebration or even just a day outside. Easy to make, you can find the tutorial from Buggy and Buddy.
If you've got a serious hankering for DIY projects, this adorable xylophone kids can play along to "Do-Re-Mi" from The Sound of Music fits the bill. From Lovely Indeed, you'll need to make a trek to the home-improvement store for all the materials, but the chic design and good sound quality mean you'll want to keep it out instead of stashing it away somewhere. Be sure to check out all the other adorable projects over at the Sound of Music Crafting Corner.
Happy Hooligans makes good use of CDs. We especially love these "cymbals" because they don't sound like real cymbals.
We love Handmade Charlotte's take on the pan flute. Not only does this homemade instrument make music, but it's also as bright and colorful as can be.
This super cute and colorful homemade instrument is as much fun to make as it is to play. Get the scoop on how to do it yourself over at And Next Comes L.
Paper Plate Tambourine
This little DIY instrument packs a jingle and it's a great use for paper plates left over from a birthday party. If you have the plain white ones, even better, though because then your little maestro gets to decorate her own. Get the complete step-by-step here.
It's one of the world's oldest instruments, and your kids can make their colorful version in one afternoon. The secret to making it look real? Earth-toned paint colors. You can find the entire tutorial over at KiwiCo.
Chicken in a Cup
For an outside-the-box take on a homemade instrument, you’ve got to try this “chicken in a cup” from All for the Boys. It’s super easy to put together using household items, and kids will get a kick out of the squeaky sound it makes.
Cereal Box Guitar
If you've got a cereal box and a couple of rubber bands lying around, you've got a guitar! Made by Joel has the super simple how-to. Older babies and toddlers can help you decorate the cereal box with stickers or washi tape, then get to strumming. No cereal box? Rubber bands stretched around a loaf pan will produce a similar effect.
Homemade Tin Can Drums
Keep it simple (but still super fun) with this sweet DIY instrument idea from Red Ted Art. Kids can paint the “drums” however they want, and then they’ll have a blast discovering the different sounds they can make with kitchen utensils.
Banging on a pot with a wooden spoon is practically a rite of passage in babyhood. Why not take it a step further and construct an outdoor music wall for your kids like this one from PreK + K Sharing? Scour your house for any seldom-used odds and ends that make a fun sound (or hit up your favorite thrift store), then use a hammer and nails to secure a section of fencing.
Easter Egg Maracas
Shake to the sound of rice with these easy-peasy maracas. All you need is rice, plastic spoons, easter eggs, and tape! Best part? These shakers have been tried and tested by lifestyle blogger and mom of three, Katelyn Fagan of What’s Up Fagans, and they are certified to play at a decent volume without being too annoying.
Explore sound and science with Buggy and Buddy’s homemade kazoo. With simple materials that you’re bound to have at home, this kazoo is perfect for vocal tots who love to spend their days humming and singing. What a fun homemade instrument!
Did you know empty containers hold a secret melody? All you need are some rubber bands, a shoebox, and split pins; then your quick-fingered tot can get their twang on. For the key to perfect, magical sound, check out the tutorial over at Minieco.
With a little more time and effort, your wooden mandolin is set to last much longer than your musician’s first gig. Hello Bee has an awesome tutorial on making a mandolin that’s worthy of being part of a kid-sized Philharmonic.
Strum up a tune with bobby pins. This experiment and discovery project by Pi'ikea Street explores how different sounds can become just by changing one object.
Ring in a merry afternoon with these bell shakers. This tutorial from craft blog Hello Bee requires some drilling, but the modern look and long-lasting build are worth it. Now your littlest can join the family band with just a wriggle of the wrist!
Sensory Bin Shakers
with additional reporting by Taylor Clifton, Amber Guetebier, and Gabby Cullen