Balloon bongo, rice shaker & güiro!

We’ve been having a lot of noisy fun with this 3 in 1 homemade instrument. It’s a balloon bongo, rice shaker & güiro all rolled into one and is a doddle to make! It was inspired by this really cool balloon bongo video by Lullatone that I found on flickr.

How to

You will need:
♥ Some empty, clean tin cans
♥ Rice/lentils
♥ Balloons
♥ Elastic bands
♥ Chopsticks/sticks

1. Begin by putting a small handful of rice or lentils into an empty tin can. PLEASE make sure the tin can has smooth edges (you can buy tin openers that open tins without leaving a sharp edge).

2. Cut the end off the balloon and simply stretch over the end of the tin.

3. Secure the balloon with an elastic band and Bob’s your uncle!

I gave my son a couple of chopsticks so he could play the edge of the tincan like a güiro.

155 thoughts to “Balloon bongo, rice shaker & güiro!”

  1. Do you find the balloons will come off on their own, or do they stay pretty well? Would glue work, possibly? My girl has prying fingers!

  2. Hi Sabrina,

    The balloons stay pretty well but they can come off and only last so long if they are being bashed a lot.

    I think glue would corrode the rubber IYKWIM?

    You could try gaffa tape or electrical tape.

    It also depends on her age. I would say 3+ for this tin can shaker. I used to make plastic shakers for my two when they were little. Just rice…in a yoghurt pot or small bottle with a plastic lid taped on. They loved them!

  3. This balloon idea is not new, it is a very common thing, but still the combination of shaker, guiro and drum is good! Nice Photos! The balloons just last as long as they last, just pull on a new one, if it’s destroyed.
    It won’t come of, if you leave enough of the narrow part when cutting of the end…

  4. Thanks for the project for science it will really help me n it’s also benifical at home thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Hello,

    I saw your post on how to make tin can drums. Well done!

    I’m currently working on a children’s book for 2nd grade students and would love permission to use one your photos. It ‘s the one of the two drums with drumsticks. The photo would be printed so the digital file would need to be larger than the one on your blog.

    Please let me know if you are interested in helping with this project.

    Many thanks,


  6. Awesome.. organizing a summer camp in Mumbai for the Slum kids.. they will love this… thanks!!

  7. Hi! Love these bongo shakers. We included your post in an upcycled musical instruments round-up over at Left Brain Craft Brain.

  8. Just made these with my 6 & 3 year old sons. They love them and they were so easy to make. We had some dried chick peas in the cupboard so used them instead of rice as I thought they’d be easier to clean up if the balloon came off! My youngest son inadvertently discovered that when you sing with it close to your mouth it reverberates and sounds a bit like singing into a distorted microphone. Thanks so much for the idea!!

  9. Thanks, I was helping my daughter for a science project,we couldn’t find any ideas so we just looked at the website 🙂

  10. We made these with about 45 kids for our Summer Reading Club and they were awesome! Having a 3-in-1 instrument was a big hit and gave them so many options for making sounds. We let them choose the filler (rice, beans, or lentils) and used generic Avery-type labels to decorate most of the can, leaving a small strip undecorated for the guiro. Coloring the labels really helped us stretch the activity. We didn’t use the rubber bands as the balloons were super-tight to begin with. Thanks for the great instrument!! 🙂

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