CANdemonium: Make a Drum Out of Recycled Cans

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With three cans and some tape, make a drum that you bonk down on any surface to produce a variety of sounds. This activity also teaches you about pitch, vibration, and frequency. All over the world, from Borneo to Venezuela, similar instruments are used for dances and special ceremonies. People who study music call them stamping tubes, but we like to call them Bonkos.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • tin cans (you'll need at least three of the same size)
  • can opener
  • sturdy tape (packing tape or duct tape work best)
  • towel
  • wooden spoon
  • pencil


  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound

Informal Categories

  • Music


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Murphy, Pat ; Klages, Ellen ; Shore, Linda


  • All rights reserved, The Exploratorium, 1998