Make at Home: Sand Block Instruments

Who knew sandpaper could be so fun?! During these past two weeks of LEAP, you may have noticed our sand block instruments near the beavers. These hand-held toys can make so many fun and unique sounds! They’re also super easy to make. This week we are going to take you step-by-step through making your own sand block instruments. Let’s go!


  • Small wood plaques – We chose a few different shapes (squares, circles, rounded edges, etc.) and we made sure to find two of the same shape to create a pair.
  • Wooden knobs – Size isn’t super important here, but we went a little larger so small hands could hold them easily. Make sure to find knobs that have one flat side for gluing.
  • Sandpaper – We recommend finding a variety pack with different grains. Each grain makes its own sound!
  • Wood glue – We used Gorilla brand.
  • Heavy books or other items – To press the glue.
  • Scissors – To cut, obviously!


We thought it would be best to adhere the sandpaper first, then the knobs later. You’ll see why!

  1. Apply wood glue to the flattest side of a small wooden plaque.
  2. Place the plaque glue-side down onto the back of a sheet of sandpaper. Do not glue onto the grainy side of the paper – that won’t be useful!
  3. Pile your heavy books or items on top of the plaque to help press and secure the glue. This is why we chose to glue the knobs on second, so that the books could lay flat on the plaque.
  4. Repeat with each of your wooden plaques.
  5. Allow the glue to dry for at least 30-45 minutes, or as long as stated on your glue bottle.
  6. Once the glue is dried, trim the sandpaper to fit your wooden plaque.
  7. Next, apply wood glue to the flat side of a wooden knob.
  8. Place the knob glue-side down onto the non-sandpaper side of your plaque.
  9. Allow glue to dry completely. It will be difficult to place heavy items on top of the knobs, so we recommend allowing them to dry in a safe, out-of-reach spot.
  10. Before handing these awesome instruments off to your toddler, make sure the glue is completely dry!

Now you can clap, rub, and shake your sand block instruments at home! These instruments help build fine motor skills and develop rhythm. Did you try these out? Send us pictures or share your process. We’d love to hear from you!

Written by Nicole Filippone