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Little Music Makers: Chinese New Year Tin Can Drum

Chinese New Year is around the corner and it’s a time of festivities filled with family gatherings and bonding! Besides bonding over visitations and food, it’s also a good time to bond with your child over some crafting and music! So why not create a tin can drum that is perfect for drumming out those lion dance rhythms and have some fun with your child!

Here’s how you can get started!

Prepare these materials:

  • A tin can e.g. butter cookie tin, milo tin

  • Clear packing tape

  • Can opener

  • Wooden chopsticks

  • Duct tape of different colours

  • Butcher paper / coloured paper for decoration

  • String / ribbon for decoration

Follow these steps:

1) Remove the lid of the tin can and use the can opener to remove the bottom of the tin can. This step should be done by parents as using the can opener can be dangerous and the sharp metal could cut you. Cover the sharp edges of the rim with duct tape.

2) Turn the tin over. With the clear packing tape, tape up the top of the tin can systematically by making sure each tape passes through the centre of the hole rather than just taping the tin can horizontally and vertically. Do this by dividing the circle into equal parts. For example, use the tape to divide the circle into quadrants. After which, use the tape to divide into eighths. Continue doing so until there are no holes or gaps at all. Repeat so that there are at least 2 layers.

3) With the wooden chopsticks, first use masking tape to wrap around the chopsticks to prevent any splinters. After which, use duct tape to wrap around one end of the chopsticks to create a head of a drumstick.

4) Wrap the sides of the tin can with coloured duct tape, butcher paper or coloured paper and decorate in whichever style you and your child likes! Alternatively, you can also use different coloured duct tapes to create patterns on the side of your drum. Add a ribbon around the top rim to beautify the drum.

When that’s all done, you have your very own packing tape tin can drum! Play the drums by hitting on the drum skin (the packing tape). Experiment with different ways of playing the drum, such as by lifting it off the ground, or dampening the sound by placing your hand partially on the drum skin. Play the drum along with music or even use it as sound effects in your storytelling sessions!

Here we have linked a video of a lion dance rhythm demonstration! Try learning the rhythm and drumming it out with the video, just in time for Chinese New Year!

And to get your kids inspired to do more drumming, here is a video of some youngsters playing the cymbals, gong and Chinese drum.


Practice is a trill!


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