Paper Cup Maracas Activity

3.4 based on 7 ratings
Updated on May 29, 2014

This fun project will teach your child how to make his own percussion instrument. Maracas are most commonly found in Caribbean, Puerto Rican, and Latin American folk music, and often used to introduce children to music and rhythm because of their simple sounds and easy-to-use design.

What You Need:

  • Two paper cups
  • Paper tape
  • ¼ cup dry beans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tempera paint
  • Paintbrushes

What You Do:

  1. Have your child fill one cup with the dried beans. Have him hold the second cup top-down on top of the first, so the open ends of the cups are touching. Tape around the edges of both cups so the beans cannot escape!
  2. Wrap both cups with aluminum foil. Try to flatten the foil as much as possible.
  3. Use the tempera paints to create vivid patterns all around the aluminum foil. Bright colors such as red, orange, yellow, green and blue are popular in the folk art of the countries where maracas are popular. Make sure to let some of the aluminum foil to come through so it adds a bit of sparkle to the instrument.
  4. Allow the paint to dry completely.
  5. Now it’s time to shake your maracas! Put on your dancing shoes and make some music!
Ellen Dean has worked as an art educator in Thailand since 2005, working with both children and adults. She has also been a professional artist working in painting, sculpture and photography since 1996.

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