MUSICAL SHAKER – Colour, Texture, Form

Students create a musical shaker using a variety of materials to create a range of sounds.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 1


Language Arts
Visual Arts


beat colour form high-pitch low-pitch mood rhythm shaker soft texture


Crayola Paint Brushes Crayola Washable Paint Crayola Washable No-Run Glue Tissue Paper Recycled Containers - 1 per student Variety of Decorative Items Mini Pom-Poms Paper Streamers Various Dried Grains Small Sponges Water Containers Paper Towels Plastic Lids for Palettes

Shop Crayola Products


MUSICAL SHAKER – Colour, Texture, Form - Step One

Step One

  1. Collect a variety of recycled containers such as,
    - baby food jars
    - yogurt drink containers
    - water bottles 
    - candy tubes
  2. Make sure there are enough for each child to have one.
  3. Gather materials to put inside the containers to be able to make a variety of sounds, e.g.,
    - rice
    -  kidney beans
    - salt
    - lentils
    - screws
    - stones
    - buttons 
MUSICAL SHAKER – Colour, Texture, Form - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Choose a container and material to put into it.
  2. Test the sound your container makes once the material is inside.
    - add more or remove some to see how this affects the sound
  3. Once you are satisfied put the top back on the container.
  4. Make sure it is on nice and tight.
MUSICAL SHAKER – Colour, Texture, Form - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Cut up small squares of tissue paper.
  2. Place some white glue in a container.
  3. Paint your container with glue and place a piece of the square tissue paper on top of the glue.
  4. Paint glue on top of the tissue paper too.
  5. Cover the whole container with 3 layers of tissue paper and glue.
  6. Set your container aside to dry overnight.
MUSICAL SHAKER – Colour, Texture, Form - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Paint your container using a variety of colours and materials to create different textures, patterns and shapes, e.g.,
    - sea sponges
    - texture stamps
    - a variety of paint brushes
  2. Use lots of materials to decorate your musical shaker.
  3. Allow the shaker to dry overnight.
  4. Use your shaker to create different rhythms and beats.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • work independently and self-regulate;
  • create personal responses to the activity materials;
  • share their ideas with peers;
  • demonstrate a sense of accomplishment.


Have students:

  • go on nature walks and listen to the sounds around them; 
  • reflect on the sounds, for example,
    What sounds do you hear in the park? 
    - What sounds do you hear as you walk along the sidewalk outside the school?
    - What is making the sounds? 
    - How could you create the sounds? 
    - Are the sounds soft or loud? 
    - How do the sounds make you feel? 
    - What sounds do you like? Why?
    What sounds don't you like? Why?
  • make movements that mimic the sounds;
  • make paintings that show the sounds;
  • share their ideas with others.


  1. Gather all the materials needed for this activity.
  2. Gather:
    - a variety of types of music;
    - some musical instruments including shakers;
    - a variety of containers - enough for each student to have one.
  3. Prepare several container shakers by placing different materials inside them, for example, a water bottle with rice in it, and a sour cream container with pebbles in it.


  1. Gather the class together and listen to a variety of types of music.  
  2. Discuss the instruments, beats, rhythms and sounds they hear.
  3. Put out a variety of instruments. 
  4. Allow the students to hold the instruments, shake them and listen to the noises and sounds they create. 
  5. Ask the students questions about the instruments, for example,
    What instrument is your favorite? Why?
    - What instrument makes a sound you do not like? Why?
    - What instrument makes a high-pitched sound?
    - What instrument makes a low-pitched sound?
  6. Show the students your containers and shake them one at a time. 
  7. Listen to the sounds created. 
  8. Invite students to guess what is in the containers. 
  9. Compare 2 sounds.  
  10. Talk about what other materials you could use to create different sounds.
  11. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Use your imagination and creativity to make a musical shaker. 

The Process

  1. Explain to students that they are going to create a musical shaker.
  2. Guide their thinking.
    Think about what sounds you like. Are they loud sounds or soft sounds?
    - What could you put into a container to create the sound you like?
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan, demonstrating as you go.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Have each child share their musical shaker. 
  2. Ask students questions about the shaker they created.
    Why did you choose rice to put in your shaker?
    - What sound does your shaker make? Is it loud or soft?
    - Why did you decorate your shaker the way you did?
  3. Provide time for students to work with a partner to do a 'call and response' game playing a rhythm or beat with their shakers.
    - a rhythm or beat is the 'call' and is 'answered' by a different rhythm or beat


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the artwork, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Shaker_tracking.sheet.pdf)