Go Ahead – Play With The Box!

rattle box suppliesAlmost every parent has had the experience of giving their child a special present and finding that they were more excited about playing with the box. So, why fight it? With the holidays bringing so many different size and shape packages to your doorstep, it’s a great time to have a little musical fun by creating instruments called rattle boxes. If you add textured fabric or paper as you decorate them, it becomes a musical and sensory experience as well!

This flexible craft is also a great way to recycle bits and pieces of other craft projects that you might have on hand. Take a look at these basic supplies: any size cardboard container or mailing tube, any variety of paper, fabric or bric-brac, plain glue, hot glue or any type of tape. For the inside, you can use anything from extra jingle bells to pebbles, dried macaroni, bird seed or even Q-tips or paper clips. The list below offers some ideas for quiet, medium and loud rattling boxes.

maraca contentsMake Your Box Rattle!

Before you seal the box or tube and decorate the outside, choose a filling. Try it out and see if you like the sound it makes when you shake it around. Some things like Q-tips make a wonderful quiet sound and objects such as buttons, beads or pebbles made for louder noise when played.

Seal it Up!

Although you’ll be decorating the outside of the container, it’s a good idea to take packing tape and seal up the edges or other places where the contents might escape to contain any objects that might present a choking hazard.

Decorate The Outside

Here’s where you can get creative. Wrap the box in fabric or different papers. Create a simple design or go crazy with a patchwork effect. Some fabrics you might use are wonderful to touch such as felt, velvet, velour, suede or gauze. Scrapbooking papers often have nice textures that can add to the sensory experience of this project as well. Add fabric swatches or trim and glue or hot glue in place.

Shake, Rattle and Roll Away!

Now it’s time to play. Put on some of your favorite music and rock out! You can shake back and forth, up and down, fast or slow. You can play quietly or loudly. I encourage parents to make a few of these and play along with their child or make some for siblings to hear how the sound is different as you play. Although this is a simple and fun activity, it also is a great way of developing listening skills and for exploring the world through touch. As you’re having fun with your child you might say: “Let’s play the quiet soft box with this song”, “Let’s switch to the loud fuzzy box for this one!” or “What sounds good to you? “Which one would you pick?”

You Can Make Your Box Rattle With:

A Quiet Rattle Box:

sand, salt, sugar, confetti, cotton balls, craft puff balls, paper bits, Q-tips, tiny pasta (such as pastina or acine de pepe).

A Medium Rattle Box:

paper clips, small pebbles, birdseed, small beads, small dried beans, rice, smaller buttons.

A Loud Rattle Box:

dried macaroni/pasta, large pebbles, large beads, coins, large dried beans, larger buttons.


Find more easy and fun musical crafts at:



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