Making Music

Make music with homemade instruments

  • Target Age:  3-5 
  • Learning Goals:  amusic, dramatic play & creative movement
  • Related Episode: Arthur vs. The Piano


  • lentils
  • paper plates
  • plastic cups with lids
  • rubber bands
  • stapler & staples (for adult use only)
  • storage containers of various sizes
  • wooden spoon


Use some of the ideas below to make music with your children.

  1. Make tambourines: Staple two sturdy paper plates together, face to face, with lentils inside. 
  1. Make maracas: Pour some lentils into a plastic cup and seal with the lid.
  1. Make a guitar: Stretch a rubber band over a small container or tissue box.
  1. Make a drum: Turn a food storage container upside down and use a wooden spoon for a drumstick.
  1. Play a game: Use these and any other simple instruments you may have (like a harmonica or toy piano) to play a musical guessing game with your children. Have your children face away from you while you play an instrument. Ask: Which one did I play? Repeat this game several times, allowing your children to take turns playing and guessing.

Take It Further

Encourage your children to make some original music. Shaking or striking the instruments will produce different sounds. Experiment with your building materials to see how the sound of an instrument can change. (For instance, try different rubber band widths, various container shapes and sizes, and other kinds of uncooked beans.)

With a Group
Have a parade in your living room by marching around as you and the children play your instruments and sing songs like "The Ants Go Marching One-By-One."

Based on an activity in Play and Learn with Arthur, Volume 1.

DW's Unicorn Adventure


Find more activities featuring your child’s favorite PBS KIDS character!