Paper Maracas

Grades 1-2

Art 207-04, Group 7

Jessica Herrera, Megan McGrady, Tara Robison, Kristin Willick





1.  The students will learn the history of maracas.

2.  The students will learn how to make sound through paper maracas.

3.  The students will learn how to create a nice design for music making.

4.  The students will learn how to assemble securely the paper maracas.

5.  The students will learn how to create variations of sounds using different materials.


Studentfs Materials:


1.  Paper plates (2 per person)

2.  Assorted beans

3.  Pasta

4.  Decorative materials

5.  Glue

6.  Newspaper


Teacherfs Materials:


1.  Stapler

2.  Examples of maracas

3.  Gourd

4.  Pictures of percussion instruments. 




1.      Maracas

2.      Percussion instrument

3.      Gourd




1.      Introduction:  discuss the history of maracas.

2.      Place two paper plates in front of you.

3.      Decorate the paper plates nicely with decorative materials.

4.      Staple ¾ of the plate together.

5.      Pour beans into the opening of the paper plates.

6.      Staple the edges of the plates securely.

7.      Closure:  clean up workstations, critique artwork, and make music.


First and Second Grade Artistic Development:


            The first and second grade (4-7 years old) stage of development that Lowenfield describes is called the preschematic stage.  When he speaks about space representation for this age group he refers to the fact that students object may seem to float around the page.  They turn or rotate the paper while drawing or creating other forms of art.  The size of the objects may not be in proportion to one another.  Also, children at this age may tend to draw things that are not related to another.  Art becomes a way of communicating with oneself. 

            These years are also described as the symbolic or schematic stages.  The children begin to develop their line and shape making skills.  Coordination in handling art tools, such as crayons, scissors, glue, and modeling clay, also begins to develop with children between the ages of 4 and 7. 


Guidelines for Case Study Research by Dr. Masami Toku.  CSU, Chico 2000.


Cultural/Historical Background:


            Maracas were first used in religious celebrations by a Native Indian tribe of Puerto Rico called the Tainos.  Because the traditional celebrations of the Tainos were forbidden by the Spanish, few artifacts such as maracas and other objects have survived.

            Maracas were originally created with a gourd which is a fruit.  The gourd must be dry and free of pulp.  A hole is made on one side of the gourd and beans are poured into it.  The hole is then covered with a handle and music can be made by shaking the maraca.

            Today maracas can be heard in Latin American and Puerto Rican music.  In salsa music, the maracas have become the most important percussion instrument.  Their importance can be compared to the hihat and the snare drum in pop and rock music.  Maracas are played in pairs and often one maraca is pitched high and one is pitched low.  One can achieve this by distributing an uneven amount of beans or seeds in each gourd.  Although this instrument is simple, playing it may be surprisingly difficult.  One must anticipate the beat due to the distance that the seeds travel.




Paper Maracas, source: