Appropriate for grades:
Subject areas: Visual and Performing Arts
Maracas, sometimes referred to as rhumba shakers, are percussive instruments made from dried calabash, gourd, or coconut shell. The shell is hollowed out and then partially filled with seeds or dried beans that create a rattling sound when shaken. Newer versions can also be made of leather, wood, or plastic. Often one maraca is pitched low and another is pitched high. Some of the earliest versions of the maraca are of Moroccan origin. The word itself is thought to have come from the Tupi language of Brazil.
- two 7” paper plates
- large craft stick (tongue depressor)
- plastic beads, dried beans, or pebbles
- glue stick & Scotch tape
- scissors coloring materials (markers, colored pencils &/or paint)
- decorating materials (ribbon, feathers, Jingle bell &/or patterned paper)
- Use the back of the two paper plates to create a fun design for your maraca, using markers, colored pencils, and/or paint. If using paint remember to let the plates dry. You can also use patterned paper and glue to make a collage.
- Apply glue to the inside edges of the plates—leaving a 1” space to put the beads and craft stick into—then glue the two plates together. Tape around the edges to secure.
- Once the plates are glued together pour the plastic beads, beans, or pebbles into the 1" opening. Experiment with the amount and type of filler to get a sound you like. When you are satisfied with the sound, insert the stick into the 1” space and close the opening with glue & tape.
- Add more decorative elements with ribbons, feathers, jingle bells, and anything that you have available.
- Share your maraca with your family and friends.