Home Made Musical Instruments

Home Made Musical Instruments

Home made musical instruments are brilliant toddler projects. Here are our top 5 suggestions of simple musical instruments that you can easily assemble at home together with your toddler. Remember to have fun dancing around when they’re finished!


Even one year olds can join in making these home made musical instruments.

Save and wash a small plastic pill or supplement tub, one with a child proof lid is ideal. Supply a few dried beans or pasta shells in a bowl on a tray with the tub. Show your toddler to put them into the tub one by one. (This encourages his hand muscles to strengthen which will help him to write later.)

Cut a piece of paper to cover the label and let your toddler either draw and/or glue colourful paper or card pieces on it. Click here to find a note about decorating toddler projects (scroll to the end of that page).

Then all you have to do is tightly screw on the lid, glue or tape on the label, then when it’s dry your toddler can enjoy his creation for many occasions to come.

Rhythm Sticks

Rhythm sticks are basically two wooden sticks that are held in each hand and are tapped together. Obviously you will want to closely supervise this activity, especially if there are other children in the vicinity. I know you will have packed away your best china ornaments a long time ago. 🙂

You could get two dowel rods cut to about 15 cm and sanded smooth if you really want to. Or if you want an easier home made musical instrument, you could get two wooden spoons out of your kitchen draw. In my opinion it doesn’t matter if your toddler wants to hold the spoon end or the thin end. The important thing is to tap them together to create a sound.

A variation on this home made musical instrument could be the use of chopsticks, but I don’t think the sound is as satisfying with thinner sticks and I’ll let you take full responsibility for the safety of the eyes of anyone nearby…


Yes this really is an instrument and I didn’t just make it up to put on this page. 🙂 I must admit it is a little old-fashioned but hey, who cares? And this is another easy home made toy. Your toddler would obviously be happier with teaspoons considering the size of her hands but adults use desert spoons.

The way to play them is to hold the handle of both spoons either side of your middle finger on one hand, facing the same direction, and tap the bowls of the spoons into the palm of your other hand. This enables the bowls to clink together every time they come into contact with the palm.

Now, you could try to get your toddler to hold them ‘correctly’ but you would probably have greater success if you let him hold them in each hand and tapped the bowls together that way.


The easiest drum is an upturned saucepan with either a wooden or metal spoon. These make a different quality of sound so your toddler will want to explore both.

If you want to make this into a toddler project you can easily make a home made toy drum.

You will need:

  • A container with at least one open end
  • A sheet of construction paper
  • A large strong rubber band or non-slippy cord
  • Paper, paints, glue collage material
  • A stick or spoon for a beater

If your toddler enjoys painting or sticking, I suggest he decorates a piece of paper that you then stick onto the sides of the container. It rarely works well to paint straight onto containers as the paint flakes off even when mixed with PVA glue. And collage material sticks best to a horizontal surface to let the glue dry. When the paint or glue is dry ask your toddler to hold the container whilst you stick the paper to it with tape or glue.

If your toddler does not enjoy crafty things then you can go straight to the making-of-the-drum stage.

Ask your toddler to hold the container whilst you place the paper over the opening and secure with a rubber band or cord. A rubber band works best because a cord is difficult to tighten sufficiently to create a taut drum skin.

And there you have your home made musical instrument! You just need a spoon or stick to use as a beater and your toddler has his drum. The beauty of paper is that the drum is not a deafening sound but unfortunately it may not last as long as a container would.

Jingle Bells

You can buy bells (the type that goes on the end of Noddy’s hat) in the haberdashery department of large stores for a few pence each. Buy several and sew them onto a length of ribbon.

If you do a few you can tie the ribbons to your toddler’s wrists and ankles. Your toddler will love dancing around to the sound of his own bells ringing. And you will have the satisfaction of providing him with another home made musical instrument.

You can either let your toddler just make a racket with her instruments or you can sing some songs and traditional nursery rhymes at the same time. I recommend joining her, pick up another home made musical instrument, and let your inner child enjoy herself too.