Celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year with some live music! The kids will love crafting these simple instruments, opening up discussion about the holiday and its origins.

It is a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated as Mexico’s independence day. In Mexican culture, May 5 actually marks the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French forces of Napoleon III in 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. In fact, the residents of the state of Puebla are really the ones who celebrate the holiday the most – even more than the rest of Mexico. They party with traditional Mexican food, dancers, and mariachi music.

These wonderful sounds of celebration inspired us to make some homemade instruments. According to the Brain and Creativity Institute at University of Southern California, music experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in language and reading skills. Down the road, learning a musical instrumental at an early age can actually improve mathematical learning and increase SAT scores.

Sounds good to us, so let’s get musical! Here’s what you’ll need to make you own little Cinco de Mayo band:

Festive Tambourine
2 paper or plastic plates
Decorative stickers or paint
Ribbon
Hole punch
Craft jingle bells
Scissors

DIY, Cinco De Mayo, Instruments

Using your paint or stickers, decorate the outside of your tambourine. Be colorful and creative!

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Next, match the plates up so the bottom part of the plate faces out. Punch 5-6 holes around the plate’s circumference, making sure your bottom and top plates match up.

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Cut the ribbon as long as you’d like. Longer ribbons always seem to add more drama!

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Then lace the ribbon through the jingle bells. Loop your ribbon around the holes punched in the plates, securing it with a double knot.

DIY Cinco De Mayo InstrumentsDIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Shake away! These small bells make a joyful sound!

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

 

Beating Drum
Clean tin can (be aware of sharp edges!)
Balloon
White duct tape
Decorative tape
Two #2 pencils

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

First, cut the balloon at the base of the “stem”. You’ll need lots of balloon material to cover the wide opening of the can.

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Stretch the balloon over the tin can. Tape the perimeter.

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Then finish the whole can with the white tape, and add decorative tape if you so choose.

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

 

 

Shaky Maracas
Plastic Easter eggs
Plastic spoons
Dry rice
White duct tape, decorative tape
Scissors

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Fill the plastic eggs with about 2-3 pinches of rice. Filling them too full will not allow for the fullest sound: less is more. Close the eggs and stick some tape around them immediately. If these crack open, you’ll have a big mess.

DIY Cinco De Mayo InstrumentsDIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Next, situate two of the spoons to “cup” the eggs on either side. Wrap the tape around the spoon. Follow the spoons’ handles down with tape, as well as the top of the egg.

DIY Cinco De Mayo InstrumentsDIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Add some decorative tape or stickers of your liking.

DIY Cinco De Mayo Instruments

Shake it up!

 

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Resources: news.usc.edu, kixcereal.com