Homemade Music

Offer any child some pots and a wooden spoon and they will soon be banging out a happy rhythm. Encourage musical development in your child with everyday household items and make your own upcycled instruments.

Pots -and -pansDrums:
Pots and pans
Mixing bowls of various sizes
Formula tins with their lids glued on
Shoe boxes with the lid taped on
Empty tins, so long as they don't have any sharp edges. Try grouping different sized tins together and securing them together with a rubber band for a makeshift xylophone.

Drum sticks:
Mixing spoons
Paint brushes

Air guitar - the instrument every household will have lying around somewhere.
You could also make a very simple version of a stringed instrument with an empty tissue box, some rubber bands, and a straw. Wrap the rubber bands around the tissue box (lengthways) and insert a straw underneath all the bands just below one edge of the tissue box opening. Ping, ping - music! You can paint and decorate the box if you feel creative, and even attach a "neck" and frets to your guitar using a paper towel roll.
Get full instructions to make the guitar pictured below on


Plastic bottles or containers filled with rice, lentils or dried beans or pasta. Glue the lid on or tape up lid with strong tape to prevent spills.
Try filling a clear bottle with small plastic toys, as this will not only be noisy, but also interesting to look at.
Try a "lagerphone" - a traditional DIY noisemaker made up of beer bottle caps nailed onto a piece of wood approx 20-30cm long. Attach two or three bottle caps with each nail, allowing room for the bottle tops to move up and down on the nail. Nail several groups of caps along the piece of wood, allowing space for a handle, and shake it all about!


Hairbrush -singingMicrophones:
Wooden spoons
Toy drumsticks





Other great props for musical play:
Bells threaded on elastic and worn around wrists or ankles
Rhythm -bells

Bells bracelet as seen on

Scarves to float about, fabric to stretch, parachutes or sheets to hide under or float up and down.


Teddy bears and soft toys - as characters in songs or set up as an audience.
Swiss balls (see below)


Swiss -ball

Got a Swiss Ball lying around? Put it to good use as a prop for musical play. Check out these ideas from Julie Wylie Musical Play

1. Place your child lying tummy down on the ball, arms outstretched while you hold their hands and rock them to Row Row Row Your Boat

2. Sit with your child on opposite sides and sing into the ball, feeling the vibrations

3. Babies love sitting on your knee while you bounce or gently rock on the ball, try Ride a Cock Horse and simple made up bouncing songs using Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

4. With soft beaters or hands use the ball as a drum

5. Sit facing your child and roll the ball back and forth using Row Row Row Your Boat or a made up rolling song



Published 29 June, 2012, with special thanks to Julie Wylie Music


Under 5

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