An acceptable-quality side drum costs from to a tambourine from about and tambours more than this. In the past most playgroup people have experimented and had fun by improvising drums, using all kinds of tins, barrels and boxes for the body and various methods of achieving a really tight drumhead. Some of the plastic containers which have come on the market in the last ten years make a much better noise and require no work at all unless you want to make them a little more attractive by decorating them. The gallon ice-cream boxes sold as freezer packs sound quite good if the lid is used as the drumhead. A half-gallon size will give a different tone. Rhythm sticks, wooden spoons, and chime-bar beaters can all be used as drum sticks or stiff brushes may be stroked rather than hit on the drum.

A brief word on toy instruments. These are not really useful for a group of children as they are expensive and do not produce an acceptable noise. Some of the older children can manage to blow a kazoo (which makes the same kind of noise as a comb and paper). These cost very little and might be worth buying if they are strong and well enough made to be safe.


Songs and music are an essential part of the baby’s learning process.

Everyone can sing unless they are deaf and dumb.

We may have to make a definite effort to improve our repertoire.

Babies learn about noise discrimination at a very early age and should be encouraged to do this.

The materials they learn from are neither special nor expensive.

We must start from where the children are.

Progress must be carefully planned.

It takes time for all the children to participate fully.

Each successive group of children will learn a little more than the last.

There are many opportunities for introducing music apart from the music session.

Stories and music often overlap.

The music table is only worth having if it is well planned and used constructively.

Music and movement at this stage should be part of the natural progression.

Simple home-made instruments suit young children very well as they are easy to use and they can see what is happening.

They can be used in various ways by the adult and then left on che music table for children to experiment for themselves.