Making Maracas

Did you know:

Original maracas were made out of dried gourds — a fruit with a hard skin — filled with seeds.

Maracas are usually played in pairs — with one in each hand.

Maracas are part of the rattle family. Rattles are ancient instruments that have existed as far back as ancient Egypt!


Many people think the Taino Tribe of Puerto Rico invented maracas — the musical instrument that, according to Blue and Steve, makes a “shake, shake” sound. Maracas are fun to shake and equally fun to make. Let’s get shaking and making maracas!


☑ 2 empty toilet paper rolls or empty plastic bottles

☑ Paper

☑ Tape

☑ Beads or dried pasta or beans

☑ Decorations

Set Up 

Here’s how to explain this activity to your child:

  • The Taino Tribe of Puerto Rico is believed to have invented maracas — instruments that make sound when you shake them and that inspire Blue and Steve to “shake, shake!” Let’s make our own instruments inspired by these amazing, musical inventors.
  • Let’s use paper and tape to cover one end of two empty toilet paper or paper towel tubes. Now let’s fill one tube with one handful of dried beans/pasta/beads and let’s fill the other with a few handfuls and seal the other side with paper and tape. [You can use other materials that you have at home like empty water bottles or dry rice! Be creative!]
  • Let’s shake, shake, shake! We’re making music.
  • What do you hear? Is one maraca louder than the other? Let’s listen to the different sounds and rhythms we can create. Let’s dance to our maraca music!

Extend the Learning

Does your little musician hear music everywhere? Watch Steve’s friends make maracas, print an activity kit and more from, and play a listening game with Blue and Steve!

Words to Use 

  • Maracas – an instrument that makes music when you shake it
  • Instrument – something that makes music
  • Hear – one of the five senses; we use our ears to hear
  • Ear – the part of our body that helps us hear
  • Shake – to move back and forth quickly


Make one maraca. Ask your little musician to shake it up and down and side to side to make music.


Work with your child to make a maraca band. Fill each maraca with different things — from dry beans to dry rice to paper clips. Compare the different sounds!


When kids make music, they’re developing their sense of hearing and their understanding of the world that surrounds them.

Conversation Starter

Try asking these questions at lunchtime or dinnertime:

Percussion instruments like rattles or drums make noise when you shake, strike, or scrape them! Can we think of five things from around home that we could turn into percussion instruments?