Making music

Music activities help children get creative and express themselves.

Music and art can provide kids with a new way to explore, articulate and understand experiences in their lives. Check out some of the ideas below, to get your kids engaged in music and art.

Making musical instruments

Instruments give kids the chance to be creative by using sounds, rhythms and movement. They also learn about musical ideas such as beat, rhythm and tempo. It is a good idea to make two sets of each, so you can demonstrate how to use them, and so that they can play along with friends.

Shake it up

Want to make a funky shaker? Here’s how.

You will need:

  • four small plastic bottles or jars with lids
  • rice, dried beans, small stones or uncooked pasta
  • collage materials and paint.

What to do:

  1. Place your rice (or whatever you are using) in the container.
  2. Seal the container tightly.
  3. You could also place tape around the lid.
  4. Shake it to hear the sounds.
  5. Decorate the shaker with paints or collage materials.

By using different amounts of rice, dried beans, small stones or uncooked pasta, you can make shakers that make different sounds. Why not try gum nuts?

Rhythm sticks

Put some rhythm in their little lives. Make ‘em a rhythm stick.

You will need:

  • four straight sticks (for example, short pieces of dowelling, chopsticks or rulers)
  • collage materials/paint/coloured pens.

What to do:

  1. Prepare your rhythm sticks by cleaning them or cutting them to size roughly 20–25 cm.
  2. Tap the sticks together to hear the sound.
  3. Decorate with paint, collage materials or coloured pens.
Kitchen percussion

There are many musical uses for wooden bowls or cooking pots, when combined with a simple wooden spoon.

You will need:

  • cooking pots or wooden bowls,
  • wooden spoons.

What to do:

  1. turn the bowls or pots upside down
  2. allow your child to use the spoon to bang out a beat.
Controlling sounds

Encourage your child to control the sounds they create by playing softly, slowly, faster or a ‘little louder’. This will help them explore the difference between making ‘music’ and making ‘sounds’.


Image Children laugh and play as they have fun with different musical instruments


Published — 30 August 2016 Last updated — 04 November 2016

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