New Year's Recycled Noisemakers

What You Need:

  • Cardboard tubes (paper towel tubes cut in half or empty toilet paper rolls work well)
  • Used or worn fabric scraps (look for linens or items of clothing that can not be donated or handed down due to holes or other defects)
  • Scissors
  • 2 rubber bands
  • Tempera or finger paints
  • Noisy objects to fill the noisemaker (examples include Lego pieces, beads, dried beans, toy car wheels, or small plastic doll shoes)

What You Do:

  1. Search your home with your child for the items and reused materials needed to make your noisemakers. Look for colorful fabric scraps that are filled with pattern and texture. This will add in a bonus art concept lesson! Try to find a variety of small items that will make noise once placed in the cardboard tube. Avoid any very small objects that your child could choke on. The toy manufacturers safety guidelines are a good point of reference if you're unsure. For example, if you are using Legos or marbles that are labeled ages six and up, do not use these with a five year old.
  2. Give your child a plain cardboard tube. Invite her to paint the tube using tempera or finger paints in a variety of colors. You can take this time to discuss musical concepts with her such as tempo or rhythm by painting to music. First, set out the paint in puddles for your child. Use a washable work surface such as a fruit or vegetable tray or a sheet pan. Select an appropriate piece of music, and ask your child to dip her fingers or her paintbrush into the paint and tap her way to a colorful noisemaker.
  3. When she's finished, set aside the tube to dry.
  4. Help your child cut two squares of fabric from the scraps that you've found. The squares should be at least 1/2 inch larger (all the way around) than the opening of the tube.
  5. Once the tube is fully dry, place the fabric around one end and secure with a rubber band.
  6. Place a small amount of your noisy items into the tube. Have your child count each item as she places it in the noisemaker. Place the second piece of fabric around the other end, and secure with a second rubber band.
  7. Make beautiful, noisy music to welcome the New Year!

You can make as many noisemakers as you like and have materials for. This activity is not only for the New Year's holiday. Try it anytime to teach your child about music, art, and the recycling. Ask her count each beat that she shakes to add in a very special musical math exercise.

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