How to Make Paper Cup Drums With Preschoolers

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If you have paper cups, you can make drums with your kids.
If you have paper cups, you can make drums with your kids. (Image: simon kagstrom)

Paper cup drums are a great way to keep your preschoolers entertained on a rainy day. Using simple materials that you have around the house, you can help your children create musical masterpieces. Best of all, these paper cup drums are not too loud, so you won't have a racket on your hands once the glue dries.

Things You'll Need

  • Large paper or Styrofoam cups
  • Decorating objects: fabric, sequins, paper
  • Crayons, markers or paint
  • Wooden craft sticks
  • Glue

Give each child two or three paper or Styrofoam cups to color. They can use paint, markers or crayons. Note whether your paper cups have a wax coating on the outside, as markers will often rub off of this type of coating. If using paint, allow it to dry before going on to the next step.

Add decorative accents to the sides of the paper cups. Some ideas for decoration include feathers, sequins, dry pasta, scrapbook paper and fabric shapes. Have the children glue these items into place. Set aside to dry.

Decorate the wooden craft sticks, or drumsticks, while waiting for the paper cup drums to dry. Use crayons or markers. Some decorative accents can be applied to the drumsticks, but leave uncovered about an inch on one end of each stick.

Turn the cups upside down on the table and tap on them with the wooden craft sticks. Show the children how to experiment with rhythm by singing some simple songs and inviting them to tap their sticks to the beat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose a few different sizes for your paper cup drums. The different sizes of cups will create slightly different sounds.
  • Add your paper cup drums to other household objects that can function as instruments, including metal spoons, a shoebox with rubber bands stretched across and played like a guitar and empty water bottles with a few dried beans sealed inside to be used as maracas.
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