Homemade Instruments
From Superkids by Jean Marzollo - Illustrations by Irene Trivas

Many of the activities on these pages may require adult supervision.
Be sure to tell a grown-up about what you're planning and ask for permission before getting started.


Start your own jug band

A jug band is a band in which all the instruments are homemade. The name comes from one of the easiest homemade instruments to play, a jug. It can include many other homemade instruments.

How to Blow a Jug illustrationHow to Blow a Jug

Hold a clean empty jug or bottle up close to your lips, but not touching them. Pursing your lips slightly, blow over the opening. Keep trying until you get a sound. Experiment until you can make different sounds.






It's easy to improvise drums. Use clean empty coffee cans or other Drums Illustrationempty round containers, such as oatmeal boxes, cornmeal boxes, and solid-shortening cans. Keep the lids on. If the containers are made of cardboard, paint them. If they are made of metal, use colored tape to make geometric designs on them. For drumsticks, use pencils, chopsticks, or wooden spoons.



Water Glasses

Water Glasses IllustrationSet up a row of glasses all the same size on a table. Fill the glasses with increasing amounts of water, from left to right. Take a spoon and tap each glass. Each one will make a different sound. You can adjust the water levels to produce the sounds you like best. Try eight glasses and see if you can play the scale!


Bird Sounds

Wet a cork and rub it on the side of a bottle. Rub hard, soft, fast, and slow to produce different bird sounds.

Jug Illustration


With a nail and hammer, punch holes in bottle caps. Then take two paper plates and hold them together, food side in. With a paper hole puncher, make holes evenly spaced around the plates. Fasten two bottle caps loosely to each hole with telephone wire or twist ties. To play the tambourine, hold and shake it with one hand while tapping it with the other.

KazooKazoo Illustration

To make a kazoo, all you need is a comb and wax paper. Wrap the wax paper around the comb, press it to your lips, and hum. You can hold it with one hand or cup both hands around it and pretend you are playing a harmonica. Just remember: hum, don't blow.





Here's an idea for making money at your school fair. Make a kazoo jukebox out of an old refrigerator crate. People put their money through a slot in the front and request songs. You'd better make sure you know a lot of them!

School Fair Booth Illustration


Click here for instructions to make A REAL DRUM

Click here for MORE IDEAS!


Based on the book SUPERKIDS: Creative Learning Activities for Children 5-15
Text © Jean Marzollo, Illustrations © Irene Trivas

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