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a bunch of colorful pony beads Let’s Make Music

An ocean drum is a cool drum you can make at home that sounds like the waves crashing the ocean shore when you play it!

This activity is pulled from our Virtual ExCEL Camps happening summer of 2020! While these activities are written to fit into the larger lesson plan of the camp themes, you can complete them with your little one at any time. Learn more about our Virtual ExCEL Summer Camp here!

Appropriate Age Range: 5 years of age and up

Materials Needed:

  • Flat cardboard box (pizza box, a small flat mailing box, or some similar sized container)
  • sturdy clear plastic (take out container, a clear tablecloth, or recycle a see-through report cover)
  • strong tape (such as packing tape or masking tape)
  • small, round objects (tiny dried pasta, seed beads, bee bees, dried beans, marbles, pony beans).


Some of these terms may seem brand new so take some time to look them up and they will be part of your vocabulary too: rhythm, waves, ocean


Once you have gathered all the materials, it is time to create your ocean drum.  First, you want to cut a large square or rectangle out of clear plastic, this will be the window for the ocean drum.  Next, draw a slightly smaller square or rectangle on the inside of the top of your cardboard box and cut it out.  Then open the box and use the plastic you cut to cover the hole in the box.  To keep the plastic from moving, secure the window in place inside the box using tape. Now fill your drum with small round objects and seal the box shut with tape. Finally, play the drum by tilting it back and forth and see if you can hear the waves crashing on the shore.  You can also play it by tilting it back and forth at different angles, tilting the drum for a gentle swooshing sound then turn it on its side to stop the sound, tapping the sides or top with your fingertips or just shaking it back and forth.


Ask yourself- Does your drum sound like the ocean? Do different fillers make different sounds?

Extension/further resources:

Get Artistic: Decorate your ocean drum with paint, crayons, markers, or glue ocean items such as shells to the outside of the box.

Experiment with Sound:  Make additional ocean drums, but fill them with different sized objects and compare the sounds they make.

Rhythm Match: Play your favorite song or soothing music and try to match the beat by tilting the ocean drum along with the rhythms of the song.

Check out other instruments you can make at home:




Leslie McNeil, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments

Leslie McNeil worked at the Georgia Academy for the Blind as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired.  While there she was a camp instructor for summer camps and weekend camps.  She also taught in the after school program for enrichment activities for students.  Currently, she is one of the Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments for Columbia County School district in Georgia.


Jessica Kaminski, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments

Jessica Kaminski is one of the Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments for the Columbia County School district in Georgia. During her thirteen years of teaching, she has worked by providing extended school year services or as an instructor for Camp All-Stars for children with special needs.


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