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Musical Instruments to Make at Home

Music is a fundamental part of every Tots Play class. We use it to enhance all the activities included in our programme because of the value music brings to your developing child, and, of course, how much fun it is! There is a huge amount of research that provides substantial and compelling evidence that music aids your baby’s development, happiness levels and long term learning.

You don’t need to hit the shops and purchase expensive resources to support musical development, though. Making musical instruments with your little ones in not only cheaper but it’s a good way to reuse materials you have in your house and to have fun with your child in the creative process.

You will find a variety of homemade instruments and noisemakers at classes to give you inspiration, but here are a few easy, creative and inexpensive musical instruments you can make with your little musical genius too.

Bottle Shakers

You will need:

  • A small plastic bottle with a screw top lid. (A small drink bottle works well as does a one pint plastic milk carton as it has a small handle, good for tiny fingers. Make sure the bottle is clean and dry before using.)

  • Dried peas, rice, lentils, pasta or similar.

  • Electrical Tape or similar.

  • Stickers, sticky backed plastic, ribbons (optional).

How to make it:

  • Tip the dried peas or rice or whatever you have chosen to use into the bottle until it is about a quarter full.

  • Screw the lid on to the bottle tightly, and secure with tape all the way around the lid.

  • If you want to you can decorate the bottle with colourful stickers then wrap the bottle in clear, sticky backed plastic to secure them. You might also like to add ribbons to the neck of the bottle to make it even more fun and colourful

Vary the game

  • Make more bottles filled with different items and talk about the different sounds they make. You could also make pairs of bottles with the same contents and see if your child can match the sounds, or simply let your child play with the different bottles and choose which interest them the most.

Safety note

  • Make sure the lid is secure and provide supervision when your child is playing. The contents may be a choking hazard.

Cardboard bells

Image sourced from

You will need:

  • A cardboard tube of any size or thickness. Obviously the thicker the tube the longer the instrument will last.

  • Thick thread

  • Bells

  • Pin

How to make it:

  • Make small incisions in the tube with the pin

  • Put the thread through the bell and tie a knot to secure it.

  • Thread it through the hole in the tube and tie another knot.

  • Repeat for all the bells

Vary the game:

  • Encourage your child to try shaking the bells with one hand and then the other. For older toddlers introduce the concept of left and right and see if they can choose the hand you call out to hold and shake the bells.

Safety note:

  • Make sure you have secured all the knots, check the instrument each child your child uses it and always ensure they are supervised.

Home-made bongo drums

Image sourced from

You will need:

  • Coffee cans (you can you tins but be very careful about sharp edges. We highly recommend using a can for safety reasons).

  • Balloons

  • Scissors

  • Tape or elastic bands

  • Sticks and spoons (or anything to hit it with)

How to make it:

  • Clean out the can and make it safe, discard the lid.

  • Cut the balloon’s end off and along the side so it can be spread out

  • Stretch the balloon over the open top of the can

  • Secure it in place with the tape or band

  • Play with the sticks and spoons, alternatively children can use their fingers.

Vary the game:

  • Put on different types of music and encourage your child to play fast or slow, or loudly or softly to match the music.

Safety note:

  • Always supervise when children are playing with the drum. Put scissors away in a safe place.

Tots Play Music

Joining a Tots Play class will give you and your child lots of opportunity to play with music and sound together but the fun doesn’t have to end when you leave the class.

Why not download your favourite Tots Play songs to play along with on your new, homemade instruments?

If you want to expand your musical repertoire, and maybe work towards a whole baby orchestra, there are also a wide range of fun instruments available to purchase via our online store.

We would love to see you and your little ones enjoying your instrument playing, so do pop over to our Facebook page and send us a picture or video of how you get on!

So what are you waiting for? Don’t delay; get your baby’s groove on today!

Happy Playing!

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