Making Musical Maracas

Making Musical Maracas
Selected song:
Cielito lindo
(in the Digital Songbook)
These handmade percussion instruments will easily enliven your cross-curriculuar activities this term.
Maracas and shakers are a native instrument of Latin America, typically made by filling hollowed dried
vegetables with beans, and played in pairs to create a full-bodied rattle sound.
Here’s how to get started on your own version
l Task the children with finding a suitable container to bring in to school, this will form their ‘instrument’. It could be anything
from a clean empty fizzy drinks can or a plastic bottle, to a jam jar with a lid – something that will hold dried seeds, pulses,
rice or pasta and make a great sound when shaken.
l Now ask the children to fill their containers with the dried stuff – try using a funnel for this and fill it up halfway. If it doesn’t
have a lid, cover the opening with a piece of cardboard and sticky tape to stop the bits falling out when you shake it!
l Use our design templates on the next page to embellish the maracas, a colourful paper cuff will work brilliantly. The
children can get creative decorating them with just about anything – paint, colouring pencils, crayons, glitter, or even glued
string. How about gluing some of the same dried stuff that is inside the maracas on the outside and painting over it? When
they’re dry, cut them out and wrap them around the container, securing with sticky tape.
Here’s what you need
paper and
art materials
Get into the Spanish
spirit and play your new
instrument to these tunes from
the Song Bank:
l Arroz con leche
l Crackers maracas
l La farolera
l Mexican counting song
l Mexican wave
l Tengo una muñeca
Cut out and decorate!