Below are some ideas for making free musical instruments from recycled materials.
WATER BOTTLE GUIRO
Collect bottles with ridges in advance. Take the wrappers off and decorate the outside if your like or leave it clear. Then fill them with something that rattles like peas. Put the cap back on your bottles and seal with electrical tape to keeps the contents in. If you like, add colorful ribbons to the top part.
When you are ready to play, give each child an unsharpened pencil or chop stick to rub on their guiro. Demonstrate the sound that a guiro will make when rubbing it so they know what it does.
COFFEE TIN DRUM
Here is a simple method for you and your students to create a fun sounding drum.
All you need is an empty coffee tin drum which you can paint or wrap with craft paper. Some string to hang the drum and some sticks.
Older children could reverse the drum, steel side up and pound with a mallet for a more Carribean-style steel drum sound.
Fill two small water bottles with your chosen contents, close the cap and listen to the sound. Often Maracas have different pitches, so try using a mixture of materials like rice in one and peas in the other, or beads, buttons or clips. Once it sounds good to your ears, then you can make the handles.
Two toilet roll tubes with a straight cut down the middle and then wrapped with electrical tape is a great way to secure the bottles to the cardboard, just make sure you have enough overlap from plastic to card otherwise they might fly off into the sunset.
MILK BOTTLE SHEKERE
The Shekere is an instrument from Africa. It makes a wonderful rattling when played.
How do you play it? It gets to jump between your hands and into the air. Of course, you try to catch it and shake it in the rhythm to your song and that makes for lots of fun.
All you need is a large plastic milk jug – or similar container and add some materials inside. This could include: sand, salt, bird seed, unpopped popcorn or uncooked macaroni.