How Children Can Make a Homemade Woodwind Instrument

By Robert Russell

Making homemade musical instruments is a fun and educational activity to do with children. Woodwind instruments are not as complicated as you may think. A woodwind instrument is basically a column, or other type of structure, that wind passes through. Manipulating the flow of the air with your lips, mouth or fingers allows you to produce different pitches with the instrument. Some woodwind instruments use reeds to control the flow of the air.

Make a horn with a paper towel roll

Cover the end of the paper towel roll with a piece of wax paper and secure it with a rubber band.

Punch a row of holes in the top of the paper towel roll with a pencil or pen.

Blow into the open end of the horn and finger the different holes and try out different sounds.

Create an oboe with a straw

Pinch the bottom end of a straw between your thumb and index fingers.

Blow across the top end, but don't blow into the straw.

Alter the pitch by moving your thumb and index finger up and down while they are still pinching the straw. Gain more control over the little straw oboe by cutting the top end. This works like a double reed that produces a little more tonal variation.

Make a comb kazoo

Fold a piece of paper in half.

Insert the comb inside of the paper.

Hold one end of the comb with your fingers and place your lips against the paper.

Experiment with different sounds and techniques. Kazoos mimic other instruments and sound varies depending on what you do with your lips. Singing into the comb kazoo produces one effect, imitating trumpets and saxophones with your mouth produces a different effect.

Turn a Garden Hose into a Trumpet

Cut a piece of old garden hose into a 3-foot-long section.

Make a horn with a funnel or the top of a plastic bottle.

Insert the horn into one end of the garden hose and secure it with duct tape.

Coil the garden hose so it is in the shape of a French horn and secure the shape with duct tape.

Things You Will Need

  • Paper towel roll
  • Wax paper
  • Rubber band
  • Pen or pencil
  • Garden hose
  • Duct tape
  • Funnel or plastic bottle
  • Comb
  • Paper
  • Straw

Tip

Try inventing your own woodwind instrument by combining two or more types or come up with something completely original.

After you are finished making an instrument, decorate it with paint, markers or stickers.

About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.