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DIY Thumb Piano: Musical Instrument for Kids

By September 28, 2020February 10th, 2021No Comments

diy thumb piano

Easy to Make Musical Instrument for Kids

Our box project this month has a jungle theme! Did you know you can find jungles all over the world including New Zealand, Brazil, and India? Our box project today comes out of Africa, inspired by the African thumb piano. The thumb piano originates only from Africa and is usually made from bamboo or wood. We love to recycle so our DIY musical instrument for kids will be made of an empty Green Kid Crafts box.

Get your Green Kid Crafts Box here!


  • 1 Empty Green Kid Crafts Box (a shoe box works too)
  • Tape
  • Knife or Scissors
  • Bobby Pins
  • Paints
  • Paint Brush


diy thumb piano step 1

Start by taping the lid closed on your box.

thumb piano diy box needed

Next, cut a circle in the top of the box. It should be about the size of the palm of your hand.

making a diy thumb piano

Pull each bobby pin to open the prongs an inch or two.

creating an african thumb piano

Use tape to secure the open bobby pins to the box. Position them about halfway over the hole in the box with the rippled sides up.

make your own musical instrument


thumb piano diy in progress

Paint your box an assortment of colors that remind you of the jungle. Use the bright colors of birds, foliage, insects, and animals of the jungle as your inspiration. We were inspired by the sun so we painted our instrument orange and yellow.  Create patterns like zig-zags and stripes too!

Playing the Thumb Piano

The thumb piano is a percussion instrument where the performer uses their thumbs to pluck metal prongs to create sounds. When plucked, the prongs produce a sound as they vibrate. Place the thumb piano on the floor or your lap and experiment with all the different sounds you can make with your new instrument!

So if you liked this DIY musical instrument for kids, you’ll like these others too:

African Glasslands

African Paper Plate Necklace

Animal Footprint Shoes

You can also find projects like this on our Pinterest page!


Join Green Kid Crafts today!

Explore zoology and get to know some fascinating reptiles! Learn all about these scaly, cold-blooded animals through hands-on play while also developing age-appropriate learning skills with our Reptiles Discovery Box! Includes the following projects: Mosaic Turtle Poster Kit, Articulated Wooden Snake Kit, DIY Hanging Doorknob Lizard, and Felt Counting Crocodile Kit. Everything needed to explore animals and the biology of reptiles is included! Comes with a 12-page S.T.E.A.M. magazine all full of comics, games, puzzles, and more reptile learning opportunities. This hands-on box celebrates thinking, questioning and original creation with fun and creative projects that will have everyone tinkering and playing long afterwards. For ages 2+

green kid crafts

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