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Coffee-Can Cuíca

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    The Exploratorium

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Coffee-Can Cuíca

Make a cuíca (“kwee-ka”), a traditional Brazilian musical instrument that originated in Africa. Played primarily in Brazil, now you can play it at home, too, with this Exploratorium produced activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • An empty metal can (such as a coffee can) with a plastic lid—any size will work; in fact, different-sized cans will make different sounds
  • Can opener
  • Electrical or duct tape
  • A small nail
  • Bamboo skewer
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
  • A small square of cotton cloth (for example, material from an old T-shirt) moistened with a little water


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and History
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access