Educational Programs



Download activity PDF

Thought to be the oldest type of instrument ever invented, percussion instruments provide a tempo (or beat) to the melody. Experiment with different materials and play to the beat of your own drum.

What You Need:

  • Plastic cups and containers of varying sizes
  • Balloons
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Cardboard

Make It:

  1. Line up your plastic cups in whichever order you would like.
  2. Cut the tip off a balloon, and stretch it over the rim of the cup to make a drum.
  3. Tape the balloon in place.
  4. Repeat with each remaining cup.
  5. Cut a strip of cardboard and attach all of the cups to it with tape.

Test it:

Strike each drum. Which makes the highest noise? Which makes the lowest? Play on various parts of your instrument by striking the balloon, the sides or underneath the containers, does it make the same type of sound?

Explain It:

As you hit the drum, the rubber vibrates. This releases sound waves that you can hear!

See It In Use:

A percussion instrument is anything that you strike to make noise. The drum kit in your favourite band is made in a similar way – just with different materials!

Hack this template:

Try changing up the design. You can add parts, change anything… it’s all up to you! Try putting things in the cups, attaching the drums in different ways, or making a mallet to strike the drums with. Can you add a cymbal-like contraption to your design?