A Silly Sensory Rattle for Halloween

A real and a homemade quijada

One of my favorite musical instruments from around the world is called a quijada. It’s a rattle from Afro-Peruvian culture that’s actually made from a donkey’s jawbone and the sound of the instrument is created by the teeth rattling in the sockets. Perfect for Halloween, right?

A colorful quijada

Since real bones and teeth are hard to find and you would probably not want to craft with them, here’s an easier version made from materials you can find around any household.


  • Empty egg carton
  • Sets of 12 small items to put inside, such as marbles, twirly macaroni, buttons, paper clips, coins, pebbles, etc.
  • Tape (packing Tape)
  • Materials for decoration
Quijada supplies

Fill Up the Jawbone!

Pretending that the egg carton is a giant jawbone, add sets of 12 teeth to the instrument. If you like, play a sensory seek-and-find with the items you’ve collected for the rattle.

Naturally, each set of items will have a completely different sound. A paper clip jawbone will make a quiet sound and a marble jawbone will be nice and loud. Remember that you can experiment with sounds to see which “teeth” you like best before sealing the rattle up.

Decorating the quijada

Tape it & Decorate it

Many egg cartons have lots of holes, so taping it up with packing tape helps keep the rattle intact. You can decorate your rattles with funny Halloween-style faces on the top, or you can add textures, such as cloth, textured stickers, feathers or fake fur. We may have gotten a little carried away with ours!

If you like, make several jawbones, each with different textures. That way your child can choose a specific rattle for its sound by using their sense of touch.

Rattle Them Jawbones!

Just like any rattle, you can shake it up and down, left and right, fast and slow. You can also play it like a real quijada jawbone instrument. To do that, hold the rattle in one hand and tap it with the fist of your other hand. Each time you tap with the fist, the “teeth” will rattle up lots of new musical fun!

Striking the quijada

What’s next? Play along while you sing. If you’re stuck for easy Halloween songs, check out the two interactive ones below, in both English and Spanish. Or play along with your favorite recorded music. Create an impromptu drum circle with your family or invite your friends over for a music circle and craft party.

Whatever you choose, have a creative and fun Fall and Halloween!

Links and Resources

Award-winning children’s performer, Daria (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou), has five CDs that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her website, located at dariamusic.com, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content. Check out Daria’s website for free songs, song lyrics and more fun musical craft activities like this one!

A Silly Sensory Rattle for Halloween

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