Music is an integral part of a child’s life. This activity is great because, firstly, it’s very inexpensive to make at home, and secondly, it combines music and S.T.E.M.. It will give your child an understanding of how maracas work as instruments, and how you make one.

Best Ages for This Activity

Two to five.

How to Make It


  • Two AriZona drink bottles (you can also use any other bottle with a long neck, as long as they are made of plastic and not glass as it is a better sound, less heavy for your little one to hold, and less dangerous of it breaks).
  • Super glue
  • 1 cup of rice to use as filler. You can also use beans, dried peas or lentils, paperclips, beads… you get the idea.

Optional Supplies

  • Stickers to decorate your maracas with. Here are some good ones or here (but use whatever you have).

Let’s Get Started!

  • Empty, clean and fully dry the bottles before using them. Also take the wrapping off so you can see through the bottles, plus they look nicer.
  • Fill the bottle with ½ cup of rice, put the lid on the bottle and try the maraca. Adjust the quantity of rice to your liking (to get the sound you like).
  • Once you are happy with the sound of your maracas, glue the lid on, decorate the bottle with stickers and play!

Each filling produces a different sound, so you could make more than one pair, and try the different sounds. For example, sand maracas will be quiet, whereas beans, macaroni or large bead maracas will be loud. Experiment with the sounds your child likes.

Many sets of professional maracas are pitched differently. In other words, shaking the right hand one will sound different from shaking the left hand one, so you can create some great patterns by playing with the sounds.

You can also make a pair of maracas which have a slightly different sound. You can add beans to one of your rice maracas and make it so that they each have a unique sound. The rice will sound a bit softer and higher in pitch, the beans a bit louder and lower in pitch, so you can build rhythms on those sounds. You can also make patterns with the sounds. For example:

  • Rice, rice, beans, rice, rice, beans
  • Rice, beans, rice, beans, rice, beans
  • Rice, rice, rice, beans, rice, rice, rice, beans

Or you can make several pairs of maracas and mix and match. What sound patterns can you create? Which maracas sound best to you or sound best as pairs? Does a certain pattern sound like a song you know? Or does a song you know inspire a new pattern?

Despite the fact that maracas are simple instruments, they can truly inspire hours of musical fun.

Learning Opportunities

Children will learn S.T.E.M. as well as music. They will learn about music when they’re learning how to play the maracas they made, how different fillers make different sounds, and also creating their own music once the maracas are ready. Making the maracas is the S.T.E.M. challenge, as they will be learning science, engineering and math while they measure, test, fix, and figure out the process. S.T.E.M. questions to ask:

  • Do you think each filler (ex: rice or beans) will sound the same? Why?
  • Do you think the quantity of filler will affect the sound? Why?
  • What other ways can you think of to make maracas? Which ways would you like to try?
  • Are there any other fillers you would like to experiment with?
  • Is there anything you would like to change?

Once they finished exploring the maracas, they can try to figure out how to make different patterns with them (math) or make different rhythms (music). They can also try playing along to a song, following it rhythm.

CEFA tip: Remember to let your child do as much of the process as they are capable of. This means they pour and count, and they try to figure out how to make different patterns.

Extended Learning Opportunities

  • Learn about how to play the maracas:
  • Watch a video of professional musicians playing the maracas, for inspiration. Here are some I found:
  • Watch another child play the maracas, for inspiration:

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