Rain Stick Craft March 14 2010

Your students will love making rain sticks. This can be used as a simple spring craft or it can supplement a social studies lesson about native South American culture.

Appropriate for Grades: 2nd - 12th

Rain Stick Craft Materials:

  • paper towel roll
  • toothpicks
  • beans, rice, gravel or small pebbles
  • paint (any colors)
  • paint brushes
  • 2 rubber-bands for each rain stick
  • newspaper or recycled paper
  • paper mache (see the simple recipe below) or just glue the newspaper directly onto the paper towel
  • any other decorative materials, such as feathers, chenille stems/pipe cleaners, stones, suede or yarn (optional)

Paper Mache Recipe:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbs. salt
  • dash of cinnamon

Mix flour and water well. Add more flour or water if needed. The consistency should be like glue, rather than paste. Now, add a few tablespoons of salt and a dash of cinnamon. The salt helps prevent mold in humidity and the cinnamon is used as a fragrance.

Instructions:

  1. Poke several toothpicks through the paper towel roll.
  2. Cover one side of the paper towel roll with paperor cupcake paper cups. Keep it in place with a rubber-band.
  3. Fill the inside of the paper towel with several beans.
  4. Cover the other side of the paper towel roll with paper. Again, keep it in place with a rubber-band.
  5. Test out the rain stick by turning it upside down and right side up a few times. Add or subtract tooth picks and beans depending upon the sound you would like to create.
  6. Tear up strips of newspaper or recycled paper.
  7. Dip the newspaper or recycled paper into the paper mache and stick it onto the paper towel. Cover the entire paper towel, including the sides. (Speed up the process by gluing the newspaper directly onto the paper towel instead of using paper mache).
  8. If using paper mache, let it dry. It will likely be ready for painting by the next day, depending upon the humidity and temperature in your classroom.
  9. Paint the rain stick.
  10. Let the paint dry.
  11. Decorate the rain stick with feathers, suede and decorative stones. (optional).

Uses for the Rain Stick:

  • Social Studies Lesson - Native South American tribesmen used rain sticks centuries ago in Chile. The rain sticks were made from dead cactus branches and pebbles. The tribesmen used the rain sticks during worshiping rituals to convince the gods they worshiped to send rain.
  • Dramatic Play - Keep a rain stick near a stage or puppet theatre.
  • Classroom Management - It can be useful to keep a rain stick on your desk or near the classroom calendar. The rain stick can be used as an attention-getter and transition tool. When students hear the rain stick they know that silence and attention is required. Keeping a note near the rain stick for the substitute teachers for consistency in your absence is helpful.