No matter how easy it is to buy a child a toy instrument, there’s something to be said for making a child happy without ever having to take a trip to the store. Next time arts-and-crafts time rolls around, consider giving a child a chance to learn more about their innate musical talents. These projects are perfect for a rainy day afternoon for kids who need to blow off a little steam. Plus, caregivers never know when they’re going to provide the inspiration for the next musical genius.
Drums Made from Tin
This project is basically the equivalent of pulling out pots and pans from the cupboard and letting a child go at them with a spoon, but a touch more official and sophisticated. Most drummers get their start in a home kitchen as they discover their own sense of rhythm and cadence. For those who don’t mind the extra noise (or who just want a designated place for it), the idea is to gather anything old made from tin, have the child paint the tin with their favorite colors, and then set up all kinds of utensils or sticks for the child to experiment with.
Maracas Made from Eggs
When a child just needs to shake it off, all parents need to do is grab a couple of easter eggs out of the attic, spoons, and uncooked rice. By taping the cup of the spoons around the rice-filled eggs, children can get their musical fix by adding their own sounds to their favorite songs. Maracas have a long history of being used in Latin American music and are traditionally made out of the shells of emptied out gourds. Maracas can ultimately be a history lesson as well as a fun (and easy) DIY project for a child.
Guitar Made from a Shoebox
Far from just looping rubber bands around a shoebox, this project actually simulates the shape of the guitar by adding more authentic acoustics to the box. This version uses a raised bridge (made from cardboard) just as a real guitar does, and a few pinholes to ensure the rubber bands stay put. There are only a few extra steps to this fairly well-known project, but that little bit of DIY effort is what will help a child create their own sounds and songs. Even the most amateur of musicians can find ways to tweak out a simple tune before too long.
Ankle Bracelets Made from Jingle Bells
While not the most traditional of instruments, this project will be a lot of fun for a kid who’s always doing something with their feet. The dancers in the family get a little more musical when parents or caregivers add an ankle bracelet with bells attached. The idea behind this project is to knit the cuffs that will eventually be slipped around the child’s feet. While the child may not be able to assist with the knitting process, they can certainly be a part of attaching the bells to the bracelet.
No matter what instrument a child expresses an interest in, there are ways to introduce them to it without spending hundreds of dollars. Most children will use these instruments a few times before losing interest, but some will want more. Once the child really has a hold on what the instrument is (and how to play it), then everyone can consider taking the child’s passion to the next level by splurging on the real thing.