Easy DIY maracas for children

As exotic as maracas’ name can sound to some people, these simple musical instruments actually feel quite familiar for many of us. They’re basically a kind of a rattle – very similar to those that we played with in childhood and that our own children are playing with today.

A rattle is usually one of the very first toys that a baby plays with – and really, it’s child’s play – the only thing you have to do is… grab it and shake it! The same applies to maracas and that’s probably one of the reasons they have grown so popular among musical instruments for children.

Maraca bells

Maraca bells (also known as rumba shakers or shac-shacs) are simple rattles from the percussion instruments family. Musicians hold them by the handles and shake – usually one maraca bell in each hand. Professional maracas are often oval or egg-shaped and made of dried gourds (although they can be also made of wood, metal, leather or plastic) with some beans, beads or small stones inside. As in a classic children’s rattle, sounds come from shaking the instrument.

Maracas were first used by Indian tribes of South America as objects of divination during healing rites and ritual dances. Then many generes of Latin and Caribbean music adapted the instrument and these simple rattles are often used by musicians from South and Middle America to date.

They’re also very popular among children and often used in primary school music education. Maraca bells are fun! And the models designed for children are usually so pretty and colourful! You can find them in many toy stores – or if you’re up for it, you can build some maracas yourself. They’re not only easy to play, but also unbelievably easy to make at home. You’ll need only a few simple components – and your instruments will be ready in no time!

DIY maracas

To prepare your homemade maraca bell you will need:

– 2 plastic tablespoons

– a small oval-shaped plastic case (e.g. plastic Easter eggs or the ones you can find in chocolate surprise eggs for children)

– coloured sticky tape

– a handful of fine groat or any other small seeds

Please note that these are components for a single maraca bell – if you want a pair of instruments, you’ll need 4 spoons, 2 plastic cases and a little more groat.

Step 1: sound box

Put some groat in a plastic egg and close it carefully. That part of your instrument will make sounds. Maracas can’t be tuned, so if you want each of your instruments to have a slightly different sound, try filling them with various types of seeds.

Step 2: handle

Plastic spoons will make a good handle for your maraca bell. Put the spoons together and place the plastic egg between them.

Step 3: decorations

Use the tape to secure the egg in place. Then carefully cover the whole instrument with coloured tape. Don’t forget to stick spoons’ ends together! You can use tapes with different patterns if you want your maracas to be more colourful. If you don’t have coloured tapes at home, you can use a white or plain one – and then decorate the maracas with colourful markers, paints or stickers.

And that’s it! Your own homemade maraca bell is ready. As you see, it’s really easy to make and it doesn’t take much time. Try making a whole set of maracas so you and your kids can play together and dance around to music. I’m sure your little ones will love it!

Let me know in the comments how you like this little tutorial and don’t forget to check my other DIY projects – you can find them here.