Do-it-yourself musical instruments

Colourful musical notes
Early years Birth to 5 years

Music is a great tool in a child’s brain development. Many research studies suggest music is linked to cognitive learning.


Listening to music with lyrics will help with your child’s literacy skills. It will enable your child to pick up language patterns through the rhythm.


When children hear a familiar tune, it boosts their memory by reminding them of another time they sang or heard that song.

See the world from a different perspective

Like art, music allows your child to see that stories can be expressed in a different way and not just told through words or books.

When a child plays an instrument they are learning self-awareness, listening skills and rhythm, which are all important for literacy. If they play instruments with others, it gives them a sense of confidence and helps with social skills.

Why not form a little musical band at your house? You don’t have to spend a fortune on toy musical instruments; you can make your own using everyday household objects.


What you need:

  • An empty open container such as an empty tin or jar
  • A balloon
  • A rubber band


  • Stretch the rubber from the balloon over the top of the container and secure it with a rubber band.

Bottle-top stick

What you need:

  • A wooden stick or dowel
  • One large nail and three smaller nails
  • Six aluminium bottle caps
  • A hammer


  • Make a hole in the bottle caps by hammering the larger nail into each.
  • Once each bottle cap has a hole, take two bottle caps and put them together with their lids facing each other.
  • Put a smaller nail inside the hole you made and hammer it into the dowel, making sure it is loose enough for the bottle tops to make sound.
  • Do this on all three sides.

Rice shaker

What you need:

  • Dried rice or corn
  • Plastic container with tight lid
  • Tape
  • Stickers (optional)


  • Decide what sound you want. If you want a soft rain sound, use rice. A louder shaker can be made with the corn.
  • Put the rice or the corn in the container so it’s about a third full.
  • Secure the shaker with tape if needed. You don’t want an explosion of rice once your child starts shaking.

Last modified on Friday 28 April 2017 [2761|12171]

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