I was visiting with my grandson on his 4th birthday and he was so excited to show me a tambourine that he had made.  He put dried beans, noodles or rice (not sure what) into a paper bowl, then stapled another same size bowl to the top.  I suggest putting colored duct tape or electrical tape around the edges to cover the staples.  Then decorate the sides with kids' magic markers.  It was adorable and made just enough noise to keep him happy.  I wish I had had my camera to get a picture, but I'm sure you get the idea.  It was very simple and cute.  It makes a great favor for parties too.