Musical Leeds kids are in tune with recycling

Tomas and Evie Papworth, from Horsforth. Picture by Simon Hulme

Tomas and Evie Papworth, from Horsforth. Picture by Simon Hulme

YOU don’t need a grand piano or an expensive violin to make music - not when you can do it with a water bottle and an elastic band!

These young visitors to Leeds Central Library were banging an eco-friendly drum yesterday when they took part in a unique half-term craft event.

The idea was to teach children about rhythm, and how it can be found in the most ordinary of recyclable household items.

Organised by the library in conjunction with the Carriageworks theatre, the session was a prelude to a new family-friendly production, ‘Bin Men’, which is showing at the Carriageworks on Thursday.

Gwen-Marie Ewing, arts and promotions officer at the Carriageworks, explained: “We decided to work with the library and do a family session of making recycled instruments, with things that you can find at home. We made water-bottle maracas and tissue-box elastic-band guitars. It’s to show that there’s always something else you can do with any item that you have in your house, instead of just throwing it away. We are teaching them the rhythms you can play and fun things that you can turn into instruments really easily. It’s what kids like to do anyway, bang on things and shake things. You just need some elastic and a box and you can make music!”

Matthew Papworth, from Horsforth, popped along to the session with children Evie, two, and Tomas, five.

He said: “My kids really love making things, and they love music as well. They have been making maracas out of old bottles and decorating them, and drums out of balloons and pots.”

Praising the event and its location, he added: “It teaches kids about music, it teaches them about recycling and it gets them out of the house. It also gets them into the library, which at the minute, with so many closing down, the more people that come into the library the better.”

Tomas, who had clearly enjoyed himself, said of his new water-bottle maracas: “We are going to take it home and make some more music!”


Here is a list of some world music instruments that can be made from recycled materials, and what you will need to make them:

*Cajon (box drum): sturdy cardboard box, materials for decoration

*Didgeridoo: pvc piping or long gift wrap tube, decoration

*Washboard: sturdy cardboard, manila folder, decoration

*String Thing: sturdy metal/plastic box, rubber bands in different sizes

*Guiro: plastic water bottle with ridges, unsharpened pencil, hair pick or chopstick





Back to the top of the page