Sunday, April 22, 2012

In Honor of Earth Day -- How to Create Music Instruments with Recycled Materials -- Guest Post by Michelle Richardson

How to Create Music Instruments with Recycled Materials

Making instruments out of recycled materials is a great way to showcase your child's creativity. On top of that, this can also be fun and educational, in more ways than one. Different instruments present different challenges too, so you can engage in more than one activity without getting bored. Another great thing about this is that it’s VERY frugal! So, without further ado, here are step-by-step instructions for making 3 different recycled instruments!

1. Rubber-Band Guitar

Materials needed:
Old tissue box
Rubber bands
Empty toilet paper tube
Stickers (Optional)

Step 1: Begin by removing the plastic that is inside of the oval-shaped hole of the tissue box.
Step 2: Stretch the rubber bands so that they stretch around the box lengthwise. You will want to use rubber bands of different sizes, because this will help to create different noises for your guitar.
Step 3: Place a pencil underneath the rubber bands. You do this because you are trying to lift the rubber bands away from the cardboard. This will give your guitar a better sound.
Step 4: Finally, take an empty toilet paper tube for your guitar neck. After you have done this, you are finished. All that you need to do next is decorate your rubber band guitar with stickers to make it look pretty.

2. Coffee Can Drums

Materials needed:
Old Coffee Can
Measuring Tape
Construction Paper

Step 1: Wash an empty coffee can out with warm water.
Step 2: Next, wrap a measuring tape around the coffee can and measure the length of construction paper that you will need. Be sure to have it ready, because the next step is time-sensitive!
Step 3: Put a small layer of glue around the coffee can. After you have applied glue, you will put the construction paper down onto the coffee can.
Step 4: Next, paint anything that you want onto the construction paper.
Step 5: Finally, snap the plastic lid back onto the can and drum away on the top or bottom.

3. Rattlers

Materials needed:
x2 Empty baby food jars
Dried beans
Stickers (optional)

Step 1: Was the empty baby food jars with warm soapy water.
Step 2: Next, pour the dried beans into the baby food jars until it is half full.
Step 3: Finally, place your lids back on the now-filled baby food jars. After you have done so, decorate the outside of the jar with stickers.

Note: You can also experiment by putting other things inside of the jars - it does not necessarily have to just be dried beans. Different items placed inside the baby food jars will make different noises. For example, putting sand inside of the jar will make a unique sound.
Making musical instruments out of recycled materials is the perfect way to spend a rainy day because it is inexpensive, fun and educational. Not only can you teach your children about the importance of recycling, you can teach them about rhythm & perhaps pitch, if you know enough about it already. It is also the next best thing to getting your child a real musical instrument if you cannot afford it, and a great way to figure out whether or not your child may be musically inclined. 

About the Author:

Michelle Richardson likes to write about music, green living & saving money at