Making Music

Making Music

Music is an inspiring and creative part of life. There is nothing better than seeing a child develop a passion for music.

But you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on your child’s first musical instruments. They can find that passion and creativity by making their own with items you have in the house.

The first thing to do is get their hands dirty!

Most of the items you will need can be found in your recycling and include:

  • Empty bottles with lids
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Ice cream containers with lids
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Rubber bands

Here are just a few ideas to inspire you and your child. We really encourage your child to make up their very own original instrument and start making music!


Use a washed and dried cream bottle, water bottle or take-away food container.

Use a funnel to add your choice of rice, lentils, beads, small buttons. Put the lid back on and secure it with tape. 

Your child might like to decorate the outside.


Use a washed and dried, plastic ice cream container.

Put two holes in the container just under the lid, on opposite sides of the container. Then put two matching holes in the lid and put the lid on the container. 

Thread a long piece of string or rope through the holes to secure the lid, and to create a strap to go around your child’s neck.

Use a wooden spoon as the drumstick!

Your child can decorate the outside and then start tapping.

You could also use tin cans or coffee tins and stretch a couple of balloons over the opening. Secure with tape or a rubber band.


Cover one end of a long cardboard tube with paper or card and secure with tape.

Add dry rice to the cardboard tube and cover and secure the other end.

Using a small nail, thumbtack or pin, push small holes into the tube at random intervals around the whole tube. The number of holes you make will change the sound, so ask your child to play it and ask you to keep adding holes until they are happy with the sound.

Now it’s time to paint or decorate the rainstick – you can add wool, tassels, or anything!

Tapping sticks

Use two pieces of dowel or other sticks about 15–20 centimetres long (maybe an old broomstick or handle from a tool that you could cut up, or PVC pipe).
Ask your child to sand the ends, so there are no splinters and then they can paint and decorate the sticks.

Next up: just tap away!


Use an empty cardboard box, such as a tissue box or an open box.Stretch several large elastic bands around the box to make the ‘strings’

Decorate the box and then start plucking the strings.

Your child can experiment with making different sounds by plucking the strings in different places.

What’s next?

Now that you have your instruments, it’s time to gather together a group and start a band!

Play along to familiar songs, make up new songs, dance and sing along.

By making and playing their own instrument, you child is learning creative and musical skills.

They are exploring sound, pitch, rhythm, and percussion, as well as creating, performing and responding to music.

And you never know – your recycling could lead to a love of music that never leaves your child.

The first step is the playing the shakers, the next … maybe performing in front of a crowd!