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Thursday, 14 September 2000

Making Homemade Maracas

Written by  Esther Boylan Wolfson

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I suggest making two of these at a time so that you can compare the two sounds. You can of course, start with only one and then add others later on.

Appropriate for ages: Two and Up
Time needed: 15 minutes


* Paper towel or toilet paper roll insert.
* Masking tape
* Plain piece of paper
* Scissors (child scissors if you want your child to cut)
* Colored construction paper
* Aluminum foil
* A small amount of rice and beans. Don't mix the two - you only need one of these if you are making one maraca.


How to make the Maraca:

1. Show your child the empty paper towel/toilet paper roll.
2. Show him how something put in one end will come out the other end.
3. Cut out (or have your child cut out) a piece of the plain paper big enough to cover one of the holes.
4. Tape the piece of paper onto the roll so that it closes on one end.
5. Have your child feel the rice and then the beans. Let him choose which they want to put inside the roll.
6. Have your child pour a small amount of rice or beans into the roll. (One can also use a combination of the two)
7. Close up the other end the same way you closed up the first one.
8. Let your child shake the roll and hear the sound it makes.
9. If you are going to make a second one, repeat the above steps with a different material inside.

How to Decorate the Maraca:

1. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil big enough to cover the maraca.
2. Have your child roll the maraca into the aluminum foil and seal it with some tape.
3. Decorate each end with colored construction paper. You can make a crown for it or a design like a star. You can ask your child to cut out her own original design. Make sure it is big enough to go around the roll.
4. Tape the construction paper onto the aluminum foil covered roll.

This is only way to decorate it. You can ask your child how she wants to decorate it. Some other suggestions are: Painting it, gluing different color objects to it - like in a collage, or just plain color or draw on the roll with magic markers. Whatever your child finds most exciting is fine.


These suggestions are appropriate for use with any kind of musical instruments. Children often find the activity more exciting if they are using something they have made themselves.

* If you have made more than one type of maraca, have your child listen to the different sounds and try to identify which maraca has which materials inside. (If you decorated them differently you should hold them behind your back for this activity)
* Discuss with your child the difference between each sound - softer, louder etc...
* Put on some music and have your child play the maraca together with the music. Tell him/her to stop when the music stops.
* Have him shake the maraca softer or harder depending on the volume of the music.
* Ask your child what other materials they think would make a good sound inside a maraca. If she seems interested, try out your child's suggestions. Children sometimes come up with better suggestions than adults can.


Last modified on Sunday, 26 August 2012 11:19
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Esther Boylan Wolfson

Esther Boylan Wolfson

Esther Wolfson , director of our Early Childhood Development Center is an Early Childhood Specialist, who received her BA in English Communications from Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University and an MA in Early Childhood Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, both in New York City. Esther worked as a pre-school special education teacher for seven years. Three of those years were spent working in a school for language delayed pre-schoolers, which is her area of specialty. Another special love of hers is cooking with young children. One of her most enjoyable projects was developing a program for cooking with pre-school children for three special education programs. Esther and her husband Myles have three boys aged eight, five and two-years-old. While her three lively boys and her work at WholeFamily, keep her quite busy, in her spare time (if she ever has any!) she is an avid reader who also enjoys creative writing, exercising and swimming.

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