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Rainstick

This musical instrument was originally made by native peoples from South America from a cactus stalk, which thorns were pulled off and then pushed in to the cactus walls. The cactus then would be dried in the sun and small pebbles or dried seeds were placed inside the stalk. Its ends were then sealed with pieces of dry cactus. Now get ready to work on your homemade personalized rainstick – no cactus needed! Ready?

Items you will need:

  • Empty toilet paper or paper towel tube
  • About ½ cup of uncooked beans, uncooked rice, or uncooked popcorn
  • Aluminum foil
  • Construction paper of any color
  • Paint and brushes (markers or crayons are also good)
  • Two 15” long ribbons or yarn in different colors
  • Ruler 
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Optional:
  • Animal shaped or forest themed small cutouts
  • Four craft feathers of various colors

What to do:

  1. Trace/outline the bottom of your tube onto construction paper 2 times. Then draw a larger circle around each outline, approximately ½ -inch larger than the inner circle. Cut out the larger circles.
  2. Cut thick strips (5-8) into each large circle, stopping at the lines of the inner circle. 
  3. Put glue on each strip and glue the first cut out circle to the top of your tube. The strips will help secure the cap in place. (Save the second cut out circle for use later).
  4. Fill your tube about ¼ full with the beans, rice, or uncooked popcorn. 
  5. Cut 2 pieces of aluminum foil each 6-inches wide and about 1½ times the length of your tube. 
  6. Crunch the foil into two long snake-like shapes, and then coil each one into a spring shape. Insert them into tube. 
  7. Cover and glue the other end of your rain stick with the second cut out (cap) you made as you did in Step 3. 
  8. Decorate your tube with paint, markers or crayons. 
  9. If using animal shaped cutouts, paste these on. If using feathers, tie 2 of them to the end of each ribbon.
  10. Wrap and glue ribbons close to the ends of the tube, letting the ribbon ends (with or without feathers) hang from its sides.

Now to enjoy the magical soothing sounds of rain fall, turn your rainstick upside down over and over again!

 

More cool ideas:

  1. Experiment with different amounts of beans, rice, or popcorn, and try using different types of seeds, beans and even pebbles to see how each one changes the types of rain sounds.  
  2. Look for information about some of the ancient people who made the first rainsticks, and use magazine cutouts, drawings or internet printouts to make a fun and colorful booklet about whom they were, where they lived, and how they used their rainsticks. 

Enjoy yourself and stay dry!

 

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