Groove to the beat: DIY drum activity

DIY drum activities for kidsPlaying music is fun, but you don’t need expensive instruments to make music. Using some simple household items, you can make your own instruments and then start grooving and playing together.

DIY Drum Activity


  • Packing tape (clear)
  • Cylinder-shaped object open at top and bottom (cardboard oatmeal cylinders work well, ice cream buckets, or a section of large PVC pipe)
  • Scissors


Remove both ends of the cylinder you plan to use. Be sure to cover any rough or sharp edges with tape. Take the packing tape and make big strips across one of the open ends (run the tape about two or three inches down the side of your drum). Be sure to keep the tape tight across the top as you work. Make an X with every two pieces of tape you use. Keep placing strips of tape until the entire top of your drum is covered with at least two layers of tape.

Now flip the drum over and place it on a hard surface. Place your hand inside the drum and push down on the tape from the bottom to secure it. And your drum is ready! If you’d like, you can decorate the sides of the drum. For a drumstick, you can use dowel rods, chopsticks or even your hands.

Musical fun

Experiment with the different sounds the drum makes. The sound will be much richer if you hold the drum so the open bottom is not obstructed by anything. This allows the drum to vibrate more. Place your drum on a table and notice the difference in the sound. What happens if you strike the drum near the edge versus the middle?

You can just play drums and experiment with different rhythms or you can play some drum games. An easy one is to have one person repeat the rhythms of another person. You can play this with two people or in a circle of many people. Keep adding on more rhythms and see how long you can make your “song” before someone forgets.

Consider creating your own musical game show. Name that Tune is easy and fun. Each person takes a turn beating out the rhythm of a song on his or her drum. Others guess what song the person is playing. First one with the correct answer wins.

Take the next step:

Post a pic and win!

Susan Smiddy, Music TherapistSusan Smiddy, MT-BC, is a Music Therapist at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Our Board-Certified Music Therapists provide music therapy services to patients and families during their hospitalization. Music therapy services are tailored to each child and family. The music therapy team collaborates directly with the patient’s care team to provide quality interventions throughout hospitalization. A music therapist can engage patients and family in active music making through playing instruments, singing, song writing and recording, or passive music listening to assist in relaxation, provide distractions for medical procedures, decrease anxiety and support healing.

mott blog - clv 2015 - camp thumbCamp Little Victors is the virtual summer camp program from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.  Each week, for six weeks, participants receive an email full of ideas and activities to help keep families busy, happy and healthy all summer long.  Learn more and sign up.



best children's hospitalUniversity of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.