Easy Homemade Banjo for Children

by Kathryn Shimer
Help your child make music with a makeshift banjo.

Help your child make music with a makeshift banjo.

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Kids often enjoy playthings made from household items just as much as they do expensive and gimmicky store-bought toys. Help your child create music by making him a homemade banjo with just a few items. Once done, he can enjoy the project of decorating the banjo with paints before he gets down to plucking the strings and playing a tune.


Collect a sturdy shoe box with lid, five large rubber bands in varying weights, and a 1/2-by-2-inch by 1-foot piece of smooth or treated wood, a utility knife or scissors, glue and masking tape. Have acrylic paints on hand for decorating the banjo.


Trace a large oval on the inside of the top of your shoebox, leaving 1 1/2 inches of cardboard around all sides. Poke into the center of the oval with your scissors, or cut the oval out with a utility knife. Put masking tape around the cut edge of the oval to prevent paper cuts. Place your rubber bands around the vertical length of the bottom part of the box so they will be seen through your cut oval. Glue the top of the shoebox to the bottom of the shoebox. Glue the piece of wood to the bottom of the shoebox so their is an ample neck sticking up and both the shoebox and piece of wood are placed vertically.


Assist your child or let her paint the banjo as she chooses. It will work best to paint the whole instrument one color, then add fake strings on the neck and tuning pegs. Let your child go wild painting stars, dots, hearts or whatever she'd like on the banjo to make it her own.


Once the paint is dry, your child can play the banjo by holding the neck and plucking the rubber bands. This makeshift banjo will certainly not create the most beautiful music you've ever heard, but at least it won't be loud. Add to the band by turning over pots and pans and letting your child hit them with wooden utensils or metal spoons.

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