If your kids are past the pots and pans section of the "kinder" orchestra at your house, here are some fun instruments made from castoffs that both young and old can create together for a family jam session.
When your instruments are complete, and the musicians assembled, record your concert and dream up your own family "label" for the cassette. Keep the tape handy. Who knows, it might be just what you need at your next birthday bash when the kids beg to play musical chairs.Stay in tune with these fun instruments:
Tin drums - Collect and paint various sizes of empty soup and vegetable tin cans. Be sure edges are smooth and labels are removed before you apply the paint. Wrap strong paper that has been cut in circles over the open end of each can. Hold the paper in place with rubber bands. Use the eraser end of unsharpened pencils for drumsticks.
Button tappers - Sew large colorful buttons to the tips of the fingers and thumb of a glove. (Now you can use those winter stretch gloves missing the mate.) Tap the finger buttons to the thumb button one at a time to make the jazzy sound.
Wrist bells - String jingle bells on a pipe cleaner. Wrap loosely around child's wrist, twisting the ends of the pipe cleaner together to hold in place. Make several to wear and play.
Shakers - Pour three or four tablespoons of dry beans or rice in a small, empty plastic spring-water or soda bottle. Screw cap on tightly. Remove label and decorate the bottle with bright acrylic paints. When dry, place hand around the neck of the bottle and shake. Make several shakers, varying the quantity of contents in each one.
Bottle music - Line up empty bottles that are exactly the same size, such as soda or juice bottles, and pour a different amount of water into each one, starting with a small amount in the first and gradually increasing the amount. Tune the bottles by blowing into them and emptying or adding water, then play a simple song.
Note: Instruments with small parts are not appropriate for ages 3 and under.