A great way to introduce music is by combining it with art by making homemade preschool musical instruments. To make these, you need only basic household items. Improvise if you don’t have exactly the right supplies. Children can create a beat with just about anything. To make these instruments you will need a shoe box, rubber bands, a ruler, glue, a comb, tissue paper, paper plates, dry beans, markers, and a stapler. All these supplies make a simple shoe box guitar, comb noisemaker, and a tambourine.
Shoe Box Guitar
Shoe boxes of all different sizes work well for this homemade musical instrument. Simply wrap a few rubber bands around the open box. Different sizes of rubber bands tend to make different sounds when the preschooler plays the guitar because they vibrate at varying speeds. Then, use plenty of glue to secure a ruler to the back of the shoe box. This acts as the guitar’s neck. Once dry, the preschooler can strum the guitar and make music.
Most people can think of drums when thinking of preschool musical instruments. To make something a bit more unique, however, try a comb kazoo. Preschool students like things that make funny noises. This project is extremely easy and gets giggles out of the little ones. Simply find a clean comb for each student and give each child a piece of tissue paper. Fold the tissue paper in half and slide it over the comb. Then, have the children blow through the tissue paper. This makes a really funny vibrating tone.
Making a tambourine in the preschool classroom combines artistic skills with rhythm. First, give each child two paper plates (not the plastic kind). Let them decorate the back sides of the paper plates any way they want. Markers and crayons are easy, but if you want to let them get more creative, provide sequins and glue or stickers as well. Then, turn one plate right-side-up and pour a handful of dry beans on the plate. Next, take the other plate and set it upside down on top of the other and staple all around the sides. Use enough staples to keep the beans in the tambourine. Let the kids experiment with loud hits, quiet taps, and shakes.
Music encourages teamwork, creativity, and brain growth. Children introduced to music at an early age learn to appreciate this type of art ahead of the pack. If you’re looking for an easy way to get kids interested in rhythm and music, try having them make these simple instruments and play in a preschool "band" together. Then, try putting on a CD with various tunes fast or slow. Have the children play their homemade instruments with the feel of the music and you’ll start to see their creativity flow.
These ideas came from my own classroom experience in music and education.