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Music makers

Make your own junk model instruments and perform some of your favourite tunes.

You will need

  • Elastic bands
  • Balloons
  • Clean items of recycling
  • Dried food (for example, pasta, beans, rice)
  • Coloured pens or pencils
  • Sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • Buttons
  • Beads
  • Images of common instruments (optional)
  1. Ask the group if they can name any instruments or if they play any instruments.
  2. Explain that different instruments can be grouped together in categories called families. Can anyone name any of the instrument families?
    • Woodwind (including flute, saxophone, clarinet, recorder, bassoon and oboe)
    • Brass (including trumpet, trombone, tuba, French horn, cornet and bugle)
    • Voice (Just like playing a piano or guitar, the voice can sing in different notes, and when we sing we’re making music. Get everyone to try singing a high note and a low note. They don’t need to actually sing a tune, but it will help them understand how the voice is an instrument.)
    • String (including guitar, violin, viola, cello, bass, harp and dulcimer)
    • Percussion (including drums, piano, cymbals, triangle, glockenspiel, timpani, bells and xylophone) 
  1. Explain to the group that they are going to be making their own instruments out of junk and then play them together. They can pick their favourite instrument – whether it’s one they play or not.
  2. Allow participants to choose a sheet with instructions on how to make an instrument or they can make up their own.
  1. Provide the equipment needed to make the instruments and offer support wherever necessary. Remind everyone that their creation doesn’t need to work, it just needs to look like the real instrument.
  2. Once complete, ask the group to gather in a circle (or get two or three table groups to form circles together) with their instruments. Those who play an instrument in their spare time could present this instrument instead of their junk creation.
  3. Go around the circle so everyone can show the group their instrument and explain what it is. Why did they choose to make or play that instrument? Do they like the sound it makes? Is it their favourite instrument? If they play the instrument regularly, they can demonstrate some exercises they use to practise their instrument or talk about some of their favourite songs they play on it.
  4. Ask about some of their favourite songs they sing at Scouts. These could be campfire songs.
  5. From their ideas, choose three options that are simple call-and-response songs. Ask everyone to vote on their favourite, by playing any tune or noise on their instruments when you say the name of their favourite song.


While making your creations, discuss your instruments. What instrument are you making? Why did you choose that one?         

Once you’ve played your crafted instrument, discuss why you enjoy playing it. Discuss how it feels to create music – does it make you feel happy? Energised?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Rubbish and recycling

All items should be clean and suitable for this activity.


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.


Check for allergies before you begin and read the guidance on food safety. Make sure you have suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods.