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Rock Out With Your Own Hand-Made Instruments!

Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to play musical instruments that you make yourself? It’s really easy to do, and if you know how to use a glue gun you don’t even need Mom or Dad to help you! (Though they should supervise.) Here’s how to make a drum, a guitar and a tambourine to get started your very own rock and roll band!

Make Your Own Colorful Bongo Drum

This is a really fun and easy project to make, and it looks really cool when it’s finished. You can play this drum by holding it between your knees, or hang it around your neck. It’s great as a project for a musical birthday theme party too.

Things You’ll Need To Make Your Bongo Drum

  • Oatmeal or coffee can with plastic cover
  • Yarn, lots of colors
  • White glue
  • Scissors
  • Sequins, adhesive rhinestones, other decorations


  1. Make sure the inside of the can is empty and clean.
  2. Cut a small hole in one side of the plastic lid, and another small hole right across from the first one.
  3. Take a piece of yarn (any color) and string it through the holes. Make sure the yarn is long enough to hang the drum from your neck. Tie a knot in the ends to secure the yarn.
  4. Glue the lid to the top of the can to secure it.
  5. Cover the outside of the can with glue (not the bottom), and wind the yarn around it, covering the entire can. You can use different colors to make it look really cool.
  6. Glue on any decorations you wish. Remember, don’t decorate the top part. This is where you will hit the drum.
  7. Let the finished drum sit overnight to dry completely, and it’ll be ready to play by the morning!

Make A Guitar You Can Really Play!

Of course, this isn’t exactly like a real guitar, but it’s loads of fun to make and to play, and an essential part of your rock band!

Things You’ll Need

  • Shoe box lid
  • Rubber bands (multi colored ones look really cool)
  • Long Ruler (18 inches) or flat stick, like a paint stir
  • Glue gun and glue
  • Poster paints, any color


  1. Paint the shoe box lid and ruler any color you like, and set them aside to dry.
  2. Once the paint is dry, take the elastic bands and stretch them around the lid. These will be the strings that you strum. If you use different sizes of elastic bands, they will play different notes.
  3. Using the glue gun, glue one end of the ruler to the back of the box (guitar body). This will be the neck of your guitar. Wait to dry, and now your guitar is ready to wail!

Make Some Noise With A Hand-Made Tambourine

Here is one more percussion instrument for your rock and roll band, and it’s really easy to make! If this is an activity as part of a kids party, omit the painting and use solid color or patterned paper plates.

Things You’ll Need


  1. Paint the outsides of both plates with poster paint, any color. Once dry, glue the two plates together, bottom sides out.
  2. Make holes around the outside of the plates with the hole punch.
  3. Decorate with glitter, rhinestones or whatever you think would look funky.
  4. Tie jingle bells to each hole with string or yarn. Now, your tambourine is ready to play.

Now that you have your instruments ready, gather up a couple of band members, practice for a while, and give a concert for your family and friends!

Post written by Chris Molnar of

Party Favors

My older son will have a birthday next month, and already the party preparations have begun.  We’ve done the “home party” with games in the backyard, lemonade and cupcakes, and a pinata to boot.  We’ve had the bowling party, all the friends at the lanes, lots of noise and fun.  And, we’ve had the “progressive party”, moving a small group of friends from activity to activity, ending up at the house for cake and ice cream before sending everyone home.

My least favorite part of birthday parties are the party favors, mainly because I cringe almost every time my son brings one home from someone else’s party.  Party favors typically comprise of a plastic bag filled with candy my kids don’t need and toys my kids lose/don’t play with/forget about after an hour.  I certainly want to make sure that the favors we send home end up in a better spot than the floorboard of a car or the trash can in the driveway.

So, in my aging wisdom, I’ve come up with a small list of ideas, and perhaps some of these will spark an idea or two that you’d like to share as well:

1.  Beach towels.  You can usually find good deals on beach towels in late summer – Target sometimes runs their striped towels for $5, and I have seen Disney-themed towels for the same price at other stores from time to time.  Who can’t use a towel?

2.  T-shirts.  This can be as simple as a white undershirt and let the guests decorate and sign them, or you can go all out and have them silkscreened.  You can typically order shirts with a design for under $10 (I actually have a gal who can do them for $6!  You just have to look around).

3.  Kites.  This is great for those outdoor Springtime parties.  We gave styrofoam gliders one year at a transportation themed party my son had – they cost me all of $2 a piece and the kids LOVED them.

4.  Having a camp-themed party?  How about some cool flashlights, a canteen or a backpack?  A compass?

5.  PuzzlesPuzzles are always a hit, and you can find them in any size, from wooden peg puzzles, to 1000 piece wing-dingers and giant floor puzzles.  And, puzzles can be found for just about every theme!

6.  Beach balls.  Really, any kind of swim gear would be great for a summer party – noodles, inflatables, water guns…there are endless possibilities!

7.  Fish.  I know, sounds weird, but for my son’s ocean-themed party, we gave each guest a goldfish in a bowl with a small container of food.  Several years later, we still heard about the goldfish as being the best favor by far!  And talk about inexpensive.  I picked up ivy bowls at my local Garden Ridge store for under $.50 each, the fish were 4 for $1.00, and the food was purchased at the dollar store!

8.  Nail polish.  What girl doesn’t want to have a pamper-me birthday party, and a great party favor would be to send the guests home with a great nail color and a few accessories!  Check out your dollar store for great deals there.

9.  Personalized gifts.  This year, my son’s theme is a movie party.  I found clapboard photo keychains at a discount party supply store for about $.50 each.  We will take their photos as the party begins, send them out for one hour developing and put the keychains together before they go home.  Instant souvenir of the Red Carpet event!

10.  It’s your turn!  What are some great party favors you can think of? Email them in!

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