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Fine Arts Fridays (instrument-making)

“If music be the food of life, play on!! A most fitting quote from William Shakespeare. Children love music — playing it, listening to it and dancing to it.  Instruments are a must-have element in any childcare program.

There are lots of great commercial products for preschool instruments, so if you can afford a set, they are a good investment. If  you can’t spend the money, here are some easy home-made instruments that the children can make.  For home daycare providers, an easy way to involve toddlers is to let them raid your tupperware or pots and pans drawers. I know from my own experience that it is hard to keep kids of all ages participating at once.


  • use empty, clean tin cans or toilet paper rolls (I prefer the noisier tin cans)
  • fill with natural, non-choking, allergy-free foods i.e. rice, raw lentils or beans
  • for a top, trace a piece of boxboard overtop of the tin opening and cut it out
  • using thick masking tape or duct tape, tape the cover securely in place
  • decorate the cans. Note tin cans are not easy to decorate without a glue gun and the stuff always falls off. If you use the toilet paper rolls, they can be painted or coloured on.

Bongo drums

  • use empty, clean yogurt or ice cream tubs with their lids. The hollow sound when the container is empty is what you are aiming for.
  • decorate the container, avoiding the lid that will get all of the use. Plastic is hard to glue things on, so I put paper on the container first and then glue items on using white glue.


  • use two aluminum pie plates and presto!

Rock Bangers

  • not an official instrument, just made it up! Use some small rocks that you may have gathered on a nature walk. The children bang two rocks together for a unique sound.

These are just some ideas, those of you who are musically inclined can look around at the materials you have on hand to come up with your own ideas.

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