Natural Playspaces Series – Building a Musical Spool Table!

I’m sharing a little project with you today that has been a while in the making but is so easy to do no matter how much space you have. Kids love to make noise and music and this little table has both those covered!


All you need is some washed recycled tins (I know you have them somewhere!!), a little cord or twine, some paint and a recycled spool which you will often find in the industrial areas and if you ask nicely they will usually give you a few for free. If you can’t lay your hands on one…no matter, you can hang your musical tins anywhere you fancy!

After collecting and washing tins over a few weeks we were ready to paint! This is the first and probably only time you will see my girls in aprons…they wanted to try them but I really do find they are more trouble than they are worth!
I laid out some trays with a few different colours of kid’s acrylic paint…and stood back….way back!
Recycled Tin Musical Spool Table - Mummy Musings and Mayhem
I’m not going to tell you it wasn’t a messy activity because it was…but it kept them so engrossed and they found so many different ways to paint the tins….inside, outside, on the top, on the bottom. It was a great challenge for their fine motor and coordination skills as the tins often wanted to roll away.
I did actually divide up the tins between both girls before painting as frankly it was just easier to avoid the squabbles…and I was having one of those tough days! I did let the girls choose a few of their own though and found it very interesting that Ruby went for the smaller tins and Tara went for the big ones….
Recycled Tin Musical Spool Table - Mummy Musings and Mayhem
She really, really loved that big tin and spent so much time getting it just the way she wanted!

No one…and I do mean no-one was allowed to touch it until she was satisfied with her work.

Recycled Tin Musical Spool Table - Mummy Musings and Mayhem


I was loving all the colour they were using although I decided to keep a few just silver too…..I could see the vision in my head of how I wanted to use them…

It was a little bit of a challenge (good parent speak for really, really difficult) to get them to finish and come inside.

There  was so much paint on those tins I think it took over a week for them to completely dry! But the joy of cleaning magically got them passing me the paint pots…the toddler twosome do love to clean a table and wash hands!

I am never without my bucket of water close by when we do these sorts of activities.
When they were finally dry, His Patient Self drilled a few holes for me (yes I could have done it myself but hey, I did the messy part!) I then gave them a coat of clear lacquer to hopefully keep the paint colours on the tins for awhile while outdoors. They dried after an afternoon in the sun.


And to be perfectly honest….they then sat on my shelf in a basket for quite a few weeks while we worked on other projects in the backyard. Last weekend I kept looking at the spool and instead of making a wall as I had planned I thought it would work well to use them around the spool table.

We threaded some twine through the tin holes drilled earlier and then tied a knot to keep them in place…His Patient Self again got out his trusty drill and made holes all around the wooden spool edge.

It was then a simple matter of threading the cord through those holes and again using a knot to secure. We placed them at different heights to help create different sounds. I added a bowl of ‘banging tools’ and the girls were ready to explore their new backyard addition!

Recycled Tin Musical Spool Table - Mummy Musings and Mayhem


Recycled Tin Musical Spool Table - Mummy Musings and Mayhem


They absolutely love it…they both walk around and around banging, tapping, finding new tools (two big sticks are their current favourite) and singing. They also worked out that if they hold the big tins they can use them like drums and tap their sticks on the top.
I often see them down there now trying out different styles of banging and exploring how to produce different sounds.


Recycled Tin Musical Spool Table - Mummy Musings and Mayhem
I do love when I see the girls playing with something we all had a hand in creating….not to mention something that used mainly recycled materials and cost next to nothing to make! What do you think?
Recycled Tin Musical Spool Table - Mummy Musings and Mayhem


I’m loving the new addition to our natural playspace and I hope the  family day care children will too! Where would you hang the tins if you didn’t have a spool?



41 thoughts on “Natural Playspaces Series – Building a Musical Spool Table!

  1. How great to get the children involved in creating an activity, and have so much messy fun while doing it, they must be very proud of their efforts! I love the way they are happy to clean up too, thanks for sharing your latest creation with Country Kids.

    1. They are so proud of their efforts and seem to enjoy wandering and looking at the cans hanging just as much as banging them!I actually think somedays they would just love to clean the table rather than make the mess!

  2. “Never without my bucket of water”! – definitely a crafting Mama’s motto! Love it. The whole activity is perfect. They made it and now they can play with it. I hope they have lots and lots of fun with it.

    1. Hehe Cheryl…did sound a little funny didn’t it? Absolutely true though and that way i don’t need to worry about messy hands and they know they can clean them when they get uncomfortable with the feeling of messy hands! They are indeed having lots of fun with it…thanks so much for stopping by!

    1. I do love a good spool table Amie!! Can use them for so many things! You can usually get them for free from places in the industrial estates…or go searching on weekends as a lot of places leave them out on the kerb hoping people will take them lol!

  3. I love the idea of doing it around one of those wooden spools. Not sure where I’d get one though, haha. You’ve inspired me to do more outside musical type things.. I might just wait till it’s a little warmer haha (I’m a chicken down here in Melbs, a cold one lol)

  4. I love it! That spool is fantastic, we could really do with one of those in our back yard (might stop the kids from dashing out the front yard to the house across the road that has a swing set and trampoline LOL)

  5. I am LOVING watching your outdoor space unfolding, it gets more and more amazing every week. This idea is so easy to do but so fun, imagine all the different ways the kids can play with this set up. I want to come and play too!

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