Making a Tambourine: Fun Preschool Craft that Uses the Five Senses

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Making Tambourines

Making a tambourine is a fun way for preschool students to use their senses in this fun five senses preschool craft. Make it with the whole class or as a small group activity while the students are at centers.


  • Picture of a tambourine or a real tambourine
  • Paper plates, two per child
  • Scented markers
  • Stickers
  • Small bowls of popcorn, rice or dry beans, one or two bowls per table
  • Glue
  • Hole punch
  • Pipe cleaners, cut into fourths
  • Small bells, three or four per child


Tell the students that they are going to be using four of their senses to make a musical instrument. Tell them that they will not be using the sense of taste. Ask if anyone knows what a tambourine is. Show them a picture of a tambourine or a real one if you have one.

Give each student two paper plates and have them decorate the bottom side of the paper plates using the scented markers and stickers. (If you don’t have scented markers, you could also make Kool-aid finger paints and have your students finger paint their plates to decorate them.) Show the students how to turn one of their plates over, so that the decorations are on the bottom. Then have them use their hands to put some of the popcorn, beans or rice (or a combination of them) into the plate. Put glue around the edges of the plate and place the other plate on top so that the decorations show. Have the students press down the edges so that the glue sticks.

When the glue dries, punch three or four holes around the edges of each student’s tambourine. Then help them thread a pipe cleaner into each hole and add a bell to the pipe cleaner. Twist the ends of the pipe cleaners together so that the bells don’t fall off.

More Ideas for Five Senses Preschool Crafts

  • Take your students on a walk to collect leaves, small twigs, grass and other small items with different textures. Then show them how to make crayon rubbings. Have them create collages by making rubbings of the leaves and other items that they have collected.
  • For another textured art project provide the students with a variety of different things to use as paint brushes such as toothbrushes, cotton swabs, toothpicks and pipe cleaners. Let them use them to paint pictures and talk about what kinds of textures the different objects left on their paintings.
  • Let your students paint pictures with watercolors. When the pictures dry, have them brush a thin layer of glue over their picture and then sprinkle flavored gelatin over the glue. The gelatin will dry clear, leaving their pictures smelly sweet and fruity!
  • Make shape mosaics. Have the children draw a picture or a few shapes on a piece of paper. Then glue small materials, like rice, popcorn (popped or unpopped), beans or cereal, over each shape. Encourage them to use different objects for each shape, so that they will have a variety of colors and textures.

Do you have any other ideas for preschoolers to learn about their senses? Leave your ideas in the comments!

Safety Disclaimer

This post is part of the series: The Five Senses: Preschool Activities

Learning about the five senses is an important part of the preschool curriculum. Teach your preschoolers all about the senses using these activities involving sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch.

  1. The Five Senses: A Preschool Lesson Plan
  2. Making a Tambourine: Fun Preschool Craft to Go With A Five Senses Unit