Make Your Own Rainstick

3.4 based on 49 ratings
Updated on Aug 25, 2014

Although the origins of the rainstick are in dispute, they’ve certainly caught on in the United States. Invented by the native peoples of South America or Mexico, they’re hollow tubes traditionally filled with thorns and pebbles to create a musical sound like raindrops when turned upside down. Luckily, there’s no need to hunt down a cactus for this rainstick craft. In fact, you can recycle items you probably already have on hand.

What You Need:

  • Long cardboard tube from a roll of gift wrap, or a poster shipping tube
  • Dried beans
  • Tan packing tape
  • Brown magic marker
  • Optional: ribbon
  • Optional: nails or aluminum foil

What You Do:

  1. Make a pad of tape by taping a few pieces together, sticky side in. Tape the non-sticky pad over one end of the tube so it's completely covered. Make sure you tape it in a way that won't cause the contents of the tube to stick once your child starts using it.
  2. Have your child add a few handfuls of beans to the tube. You can cover one end with your hand to test the effect. Would your child like to add more beans or take some away to create the perfect sound?
  3. Want to change the sound? Have your kid crumple a long "rope" of aluminum foil and insert it into the tube to slow the beans down. Or, an adult (not a kid!) can hammer a few nails into the side of the tube to slow the beans.
  4. Tape over the other end as in Step 1.
  5. Help your child to draw patterns over the tube to make it look like wood, or just let her use her imagination to make colorful designs.
  6. Optional: tie a decorative ribbon around one end.
  7. Now the fun begins! Encourage your child to experiment with her rainstick. What does it sound like when she turns it over slowly? How about quickly? Listening is a skill, and this craft will give her a lot of practice!