Your toddler or preschooler might have begged for that expensive guitar that is several sizes too big, but little does he know you can make your own instruments with objects you probably have around the house. You can pull out a few simple instrument-making arts and crafts when those rainy days sneak up on you or your child’s insatiable desire to make music comes to a head.
Your child has been making everything into a drum ever since he figured out his food bowl and spoon make a cool sound on his high chair. If you don’t want your child’s food to end up on the floor again, try a drum craft with a coffee can or similar cylindrical and hollow container. Let your toddler or preschooler decorate by gluing shapes cut out from construction or tissue paper to the outside. Put the lid on the container and give your kid a couple of pencils for drumsticks and let him have at it. Alternatively, throw out the lid and cover the opening with wax paper or thick fabric like denim; secure with a rubber band.
This box guitar will have your toddler or preschooler strumming and singing all day — until naptime or bedtime, that is. Cut an oval or circle shape in the center of a shoebox lid. Let your toddler help you secure the lid to the box with glue or tape. Stretch three rubber bands lengthwise around the box — these bands will serve as the guitar strings. Stick a pencil underneath the rubber bands just below the hole you cut — this part raises the rubber bands so they can resonate better. You can leave the box guitar as is or tape a paper towel roll to the short side of the box to be a pretend “neck” of the guitar.
It’s time to put your child’s favorite baby rattle to rest, but you can replace it with something handmade. Let your toddler or preschooler decorate the outside of two paper plates or a paper towel tube for the “rain stick” variation of a maraca or shaker. Place one paper plate decorated side down and cover with objects like beads or pasta. For safety reasons, the beads or pasta should be more than 1.25 inches in diameter and longer than 1 to 2.25 inches. Place the other plate on top and glue or tape around the edges to secure the beads or pasta inside the two plates. For the rain stick variation, cover one open end of the tube with paper and secure with a rubber band or glue. Fill the tube about a quarter full with the beads or pasta. Cover the other open end with paper and secure. Let your child shake, shake, shake to his heart’s content.
If you tap the side of a glass, it naturally has a musical pitch. If you fill the glass with water, the pitch changes. Make musical glasses with your child by filling kitchen glasses or glass jars with various amounts of water. If you’re feeling bold, color the water in each glass with various food colorings. Give your child a spoon and gently tap the sides to hear the different pitches. See if you can make a song.