5 Fun DIY Musical Instruments for Kids

Little funny girl with DIY guitar.

  • Kids love music, and DIY instruments are a great way to work on STEM skills, expand creativity, and have some family fun. 
  • Many easy-to-make homemade instruments only require a few different materials that you already have around the house. 
  • Making instruments together is a fun, hands-on way to discover music and learn how objects can be changed to make sound. 

Homemade instruments are fun to create, easy to build, and great teaching tools to answer your kids’ questions about the science of sound. Musical instrument crafts not only look cool and give your child a chance to be visually creative, but they’re also multi-sensory and get all of your child’s senses involved. 

For young children, DIY musical instruments are an easy introduction to the real thing and inspire them to take an interest in music. When you make music out of materials like plastic spoons, rice, and a rubber band, you’re not only teaching your kids about sound and creativity, but you’ll be making some great memories too. 

Check out our guide to making DIY musical instruments for your kids, and have some musical fun! 

1: Box Guitar 

Cereal Biox Guitar
Photo by Think Play Create on ThinkPlayCreate.org

This box guitar can be made in several different ways to get your kids ready to rock out. This homemade instrument is made with recycled materials, teaching your little rock stars about music, taking care of the environment, and creativity all at once.  

You Will Need: 

  • Cereal box, rectangular tissue box, or shoe box
  • Rubber bands
  • Cardboard tube 
  • Paint and decorating materials (optional)
  • Glue or tape
  • Scissors

How It Works: 

Decorating your box is optional, but if your kids would like to do that, have them paint or color the box as a first step. 

Next, cut out a hole in the center and at one end for the guitar neck if using a cereal box. If using a rectangular tissue box or shoe box, cut a hole just at the end for the neck. The guitar neck hole should be about the width of your cardboard tube. 

Now it’s time to attach the guitar neck. Again, if your kids want to decorate it, do that before attaching it. Slide the tube into the hole and secure it with glue or tape. 

Here comes the exciting part! Add your “strings” which are the rubber bands. Space the bands evenly across the center hole. Try rubber bands of different thicknesses to see how this changes the sound. 

Now get ready to rock! 

If you don’t have any boxes to hand, don’t worry. Try these super cute mini banjos made out of jar lids and rubber bands from The Craft Train instead. 

2: Homemade Drum Set

How To Make A Drum For Kids
Photo by Autumn on ItsAlwaysAutumn.com

If your kids’ favorite instrument is the drums, try this fun and easy drum set made with things you already have at home. 

You Will Need: 

  • Empty and clean tin or plastic cylinders, like tin food cans of different sizes
  • Balloons
  • Rubber bands 

How It Works: 

Select your containers. Tin cans work for this as do plastic cylinders. Recycled food containers are probably the easiest thing to choose. Make sure your containers are clean and empty. 

Choosing containers of different sizes will help your kids get different sounds out of each drum. 

Make sure you have one balloon for each container. Cut off the balloon necks. Now stretch the balloons over the top of the cans, and secure the balloon tops with rubber bands. 

All you need now is a stick, which could be a spoon, spatula, or even a felt tip marker with the cap on. It’s Always Autumn has some suggestions for how to make a proper drumstick with a bead and dowel. 

Creative kids may want to decorate their drums with craft supplies before they rock out. 

3: Paper Plate Tambourine

Paper Plate Tambourine
Photo by Sue on FirstPalette.com

As far as homemade musical instruments go, this one is a cinch to make out of regular household items. This is also fun for kids who also like to get crafty. Check out this example from First Palette for inspiration. 

You Will Need: 

  • Paper plates of the same size
  • Five jingle bells
  • Hole punch
  • Twist ties or pipe cleaners
  • Art supplies for decorating, like paint, stickers, etc. 

How It Works

First, align your paper plates and punch five evenly spaced holes around the perimeter. 

Next, it’s time to decorate. Use your paint, magic markers, stickers, or whatever other decorations you like to adorn the bottom of each plate. Get creative! Each side can be different. 

While your plates are drying, thread your twist ties or pipe cleaners through your jingle bells. 

Now, align your plates and attach the bells to the holes using the twist ties. Twist the ends of the pipe cleaners or ties around the bottom of each bell to secure them. Trim away the ends. 

You’re ready to play! Get your child to find the beat of a favorite song and play along with their tambourine. This is a fun instrument to encourage music and movement in your little one. 

4: Awesome Microphone 

Microphone Craft For Kids
Photo by Jackie Cravener on IHeartArtsNCrafts.com

Every band needs a lead vocalist, and a DIY microphone made of everyday items is the perfect prop for your kids to front the family band. 

You Will Need: 

  • Cardboard paper towel tube
  • Styrofoam craft ball that fits on top of the tube, or any old, lightweight ball, like a wiffle ball
  • Craft supplies like stick-on gemstones, glitter, washi tape, and metallic paint 
  • Glue

How it Works: 

To make a cool microphone for your favorite little singer, glue your craft ball or other ball to one end of your cardboard tube. If you have a hot glue gun, that may work best, but it should only be operated by adults. 

Start decorating! Let your child’s inner rock star come out with metallic paints and washi tape, glitter glue, and stick-on gems. Take a look at this great example from I Heart Arts n Crafts

5: Rainbow Homemade Xylophone 

Little girl, toddler plays music with drumsticks in glasses of water in the kitchen.

A homemade xylophone is part musical instrument, part science experiment. Making sounds with this DIY instrument is a lot of fun, and it’s the perfect addition to the band! 

You Will Need: 

  • 6–8 empty glass water bottles or glass jars of the same size and volume
  • Food coloring
  • Measuring cup 
  • Water
  • Wooden spoon

How It Works: 

Start by filling your jars or bottles with water. This is a good activity for learning to measure. Pour ¼ cup of water into the first jar, then increase by ¼ cup of water for each jar after that. 

Next, add your food coloring to each jar to create a rainbow of notes, or mix colors to add an extra level of fun science learning. 

Now it’s time to play! Have your kids strike each jar gently with the wooden spoon. Ask your kids to predict whether a note will be higher or lower depending on the amount of water in it. See if you can make some music by picking out a tune. 


What are some eco-friendly materials I can use to make DIY musical instruments for kids?

Musical DIY projects are a great way to explore STEM topics and introduce the concept of recycling to your kids. These projects also help your children think creatively and outside the box when it comes to transforming everyday objects into musical toys. 

Recycled material projects can be very simple, even for young children. For example, making a rattle from a recycled plastic bottle and some rice is easy and helps your kids work on their motor, spatial, and musical skills. 

Some materials you can make instruments out of include: 

  • Cardboard tubes for rattles or guitar or banjo necks. 
  • Old bobby pins for thumb piano keys. 
  • Plastic containers such as drums, shakers, or rattles. 
  • Leftover plastic Easter eggs from your egg hunt filled with rice and turned into shakers. 
  • Cardboard boxes are used as drums, guitars, or harps. 

When your DIY instruments have reached the end of the road, show your children how to further recycle the parts they used by adding them to your household recycling.

Fun DIY Musical Instruments for Kids

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