Classroom Instruments: Small Percussion

Students generally love to play musical instruments! They are also great for practicing rhythm and coordination. And when done correctly, they contribute to the artistry of the music-making experience!

Babies / Toddlers

I did not add recommended quantities, since it depends on how many students you have… one or two of each of the instruments, enough so each child gets something.

My faves:

Early Childhood

Children ages 2 to 5 can tend to have more trouble sharing and waiting their turn. I have found it helpful to have a lot of one kind of instrument, maybe 1 for each child in the class or at least for half the class so the children don’t have to wait long – or so they can switch instruments.

My faves:


As much as possible, on the days I get out the instruments, I want each child to have a turn playing something. I like to have enough of each instrument for ¼ of the class. That way, if I am only using one kind instrument that day, we can repeat the song 3 times and give everyone a turn. If you don’t have the budget or space for that many instruments, I suggest you have enough of each category of instrument for ¼ of the class. For instance:

  • 6 Skins = hand drums & tambourines
  • 6 Woods = woodblocks & claves
  • 6 Scrapers/Shakers = guiros, cabasas, maracas
  • 6 Metals = triangles, finger cymbals (I didn’t include regular cymbals because they are so loud!)

My faves:

Other fun instruments:

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