What is a rainstick?
The first rainsticks were believed to be created by the Aztecs. They would dry out a piece of cactus in the sun, remove the spines, then drive them into the cactus like nails. Small stones or pebbles were then placed inside and the ends were sealed. When tilted vertically, the pebbles would cascade down to the other end hitting the spines and the sound would resemble rainfall. They were played in the belief they would bring rain.
Children can create their own rainsticks using the following items:
paper towel rolls
construction paper or aluminum foil
1 1/2 inch brass fasteners
macaroni, beans, rice, or popcorn kernels
exacto knife (adults only)
stickers and/or crayons (optional)
Seal one end of the paper towel tube with masking tape.
Make small slits along the seams of the paper towel roll to make it easier for the children to insert the brass fasteners.
Allow the students to insert the 1 1/2 inch brass fasteners in the slits.
Have the students add either macaroni, beans, rice, or popcorn kernels to the open end. They can experiment with the sound – adding as much or as little as they like. The heavier macaroni and beans will create a louder rainfall sound than the rice and popcorn kernels. Children can add as much or as little as they like until they reach a “rain sound” of their liking (have them hold the open end closed with their hand and tilt the tube to hear the rain sound).
Once they have the desired amount of objects in the towel roll, tape the other end closed.
There are two options for decorating the rainstick. Option 1 is to cover it tightly with aluminum foil.
Seal both ends.
Option 2 is to cover it with construction paper. First, cover the ends by cutting 2 circles that are a little larger than the opening of the paper towel roll. Place on each end and seal with tape.
Then roll the tube tightly with construction paper and glue or tape.
Children can decorate their tubes with spring stickers or draw pictures.