Make a homemade music shaker with your little ones.

How to Make a Music Shaker for Toddlers

by Kelly Sundstrom

Toddlers love music, but are still too young to take regular lessons for a musical instrument. So how do you encourage your little ones to enjoy music in a way that is age-appropriate? Start by putting together an activity making a simple musical instrument using craft materials, such as a music shaker. Use the homemade music shaker to keep a beat with your children. Pretty soon, your little ones will be shake, shake, shaking their way all around the living room.

Place two paper plates on top of a table, and let your toddler color on the bottom surfaces of the paper plates with colorful markers, crayons or colored pencils. If your little one is making the music shaker near a holiday, encourage her to decorate the plates using certain holiday colors or pictures. Your child could use red and green markers to decorate the plates to make a Christmas-themed music shaker.

Turn one of the paper plates right side up, and pour one-half cup of dried beans into the plate. You can use any type of dried beans you prefer, and if you do not have dried beans on hand, use other noisy items, like dried rice or dried pasta. You can also use jingle bells if you are making the music shaker during the winter holiday season. Just watch your toddler to ensure she doesn't put anything in her mouth.

Lay the other paper plate upside down on top of the first so that the decorated bottom of the plate is exposed. Staple around the rim of the paper plates to secure them together. Place the staples right next to each other to ensure the beans do not accidentally pop out of the music shaker.

Shake the music shaker around the room to show your little one how to use it. You can also put on music and shake the music shaker to the beat of the music.

Items you will need

  • 2 paper plates
  • Markers, crayons and colored pencils
  • Dried beans
  • Stapler


  • Keep the stapler, dried beans and any other items for use inside of the music shaker out of the reach of children.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images