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You could technically define a noisemaker as any three year old throwing a fit about having to go to bed, but in most cases, noisemakers refer to a variety of toys and simple musical instruments. They are specifically used for the purpose of making lots of noise, often during celebrations like those that occur on midnight on New Year’s Day. Other special uses include using gragger noisemakers on Purim every time the name of Haman is mentioned. You’ll also find a variety of noisemaker types at sporting events, parades, and at Carnivale celebrations.
There are a number of different noisemaker types, not excluding the above mentioned three year old. The gragger for instance is a small handheld stick with a rectangular looking box at the top. When it is twirled in the hand, the box spins. Friction from the box rubs against the stick, producing a loud percussive sound. A similar sound may be produced by using two sticks, one with cut out ridges, that when rubbed together create the friction sound. Alternately, you can use the real percussion instrument, the fish or guiro, which is usually carved out of a large gourd or hollowed out wood. In the middle section of the fish, you’ll find a set of grooves; these when rubbed with a wooden stick produce similar sounds to the gragger.
Other percussion style instruments that may be made inexpensively and referred to as noisemakers include tambourines, small drums, and maracas in varying sizes. You can purchase small drums on sticks with two balls connected by a string. These provide a good noisemaker when you hold them in them in one hand and use wrist action to quickly turn them from side to side.
Other variants of the noisemaker include small whistles, bells of many types, large air horns or stadium horns, and clappers. Clappers are made of either wood or plastic, and have two hand shaped tops that when waved back and forth provide a clapping and banging sound. There are literally hundreds of different noisemakers available.
If you’re planning a party or event where you’ll want noisemakers, one of the best ways to purchase them is in bulk online, especially if you need a large amount of them. You can often buy them by the dozen, and most are meant to last for one party or moment only, with the exception of a few of the percussion instruments. Choose a variety of different types to produce the most cacophonous sounds when noise making is required. Noisemakers can be fun at children’s parties too; each child can be given a noisemaker in a gift bag for an impromptu parade.
If you’re low on cash and still want to make some noise, as for example on New Year’s Eve, don’t forget the wonderful power of pots, pans and wooden spoons, as temporary noisemakers. Even a pot and its lid can be bashed together for loud joyous sounds when you clash in the New Year for all your neighbors to hear.