For young children, it can be hard to understand that the sounds we hear are made from vibrations. This activity helps begin the process for children to understand this scientific concept. In addition to noticing how vibrations make sounds, they'll also make their own instruments!

set up ideas
Create your own tissue box luthier workshop! A luthier is someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments. Arrange your instrument bodies (tissue boxes), strings (rubber bands) in a workshop fashion.

let's get started

No instrument? No problem! You'll be making your own with an empty tissue box, several large rubber bands, pencils and paint, crayons, stickers or any other craft materials you'd like to use to decorate your instrument. Feel free to incorporate foam shapes, pom-poms and more.

step 1
Have the children decorate empty tissue boxes with the craft materials that you have available. If using paints or glue, allow the boxes to dry before proceeding.
step 2
Once their tissue boxes are decorated, demonstrate how to safely place two rubbers bands around each box. Space the rubber bands at least 4 inches apart from each other.
step 3
Have children strum or pick the bands to see what sounds they can make, and listen to them resonate in the box. Encourage them to experiment with moving the bands to see if the sounds change.
step 4
Place a pencil underneath the bands on either side of the box opening. How does that change the sound? Provide additional materials and let the children explore the sounds of different materials and placements.

Discuss the sounds that the children make with their instruments. What sounds to they enjoy? What sounds do they think sound bad? Encourage them to manipulate their instruments in order to find sounds that they really enjoy. This is a great age to begin learning to discuss music and taste.
Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks
When decorating, be sure that your tissue boxes are completely dry and that there aren't any ornaments in the way of the rubber bands. These may cause your sound to not ring as clearly.
Follow Up ActivityFollow up Activity
Create a homemade band by adding beads to containers for shakers and blowing onto the openings of bottles for unique wind instruments. Practice rhythm by having different instruments play on each beat.