Provide a wide variety of musical instruments to allow exploration with sound, rhythm and tempo. Have doubles of some instruments for children to pair up and engage in social interactions and cooperative play.
Traditional- rhythm sticks, bells, drums and cymbals are some common instruments children enjoy experimenting with. Add some unique instruments such as cowbells, a banjo or a keyboard to encourage new sounds and creative play. Incorporating instruments from cultures around the world (maracas, rain sticks, shekeres or shell rattles) helps to encourage independent exploration with new and interesting instruments.
Homemade- many simple instruments can be made either for or by the children. Maracas made from plastic eggs and plastic spoons are easy and fun. Just fill a plastic Easter egg with beans or rice, place between two plastic spoons, and wrap a rubber band around them to hold it all together. Another easy one is decorating two paper plates, adding beans or rice (or the like) to the center, and stapling them together for another type of maraca.
Homemade drums can be made by washing out various sized aluminum cans (coffee, soup, etc.) and placing them upside down all together. Take a strong, thick rubber band and wrap around all of the cans, with the bottom side up. Use a wooden dowel or a pencil to hit the cans and compare the different sizes with the different sounds!