Toe Tappin' Tambourines

tambourines Help introduce music and rhythm to children with these easy-to-make paper plate tambourines!


  • To have fun creating one-of-a-kind musical instruments to play with individually or as a group
  • To encourage creativity and fine motor skills

Before You Start: Collect paper plates, Colorations® crayons and markers, staplers, and a one-hole punch. Set out small bowls with a variety of small smooth pebbles and/or beads and stringing jingle bells. Cut small lengths of yarn or ribbon, approximately 5-6 inches each ahead of time to use with the bells.

Let's Get Started! Step 1. Give each child their own paper plate. Have them fold the plates in half, so it looks like a clam, making sure to crease the fold well.

Step 2. Have the children decorate their plates any way they like with the markers and crayons and any other decorative items you may have available.

Step 3. Help the children punch 2-3 holes about 1/2" from the edge of their plates, making sure to punch through both of the open sides. (The teacher may want to punch the holes for the younger children.)

Step 4. Have the children choose some of the stones or beads for their tambourines. While holding the plates upright (fold side down), help the children carefully drop the materials inside.

Step 5. Staple (or help older children) staple the plates together, making sure there are no large holes for the materials inside to fall out.

Step 6. Add the finishing touch! Demonstrate how to string a piece of yarn on a bell and secure to a tambourine through holes earlier punched along the edge.

Step 7. Now every child has their own unique, toe tappin' tambourine to play with.

Furthermore: Put on some music and have children play their tambourines along with the beat. Encourage them to shake, tap, rattle and have fun with the music. Use the tambourines to teach about rhythm and have the children echo rhythms that the teacher or other classmates demonstrate.

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