This Rainstick Craft is simple to make! Rainsticks are ceremonial musical instruments used to invoke the rain spirits. They are made by people who live in the deserts of northern Chile. Rainsticks are traditionally made from dead cactus tubes with hundreds of cactus spines hammered into the tube. Tiny lava pebbles cascade gently through the tube, sounding much like rain.
This rainstick is definitely not traditional. It’s made from a cardboard tube (instead of the dried cactus) and aluminum foil (in place of cactus spines).
- A paper towel tube or other long cardboard tube
- Aluminum foil
- Small dried beans (like lentils), unpopped popcorn, dry rice, or tiny pasta.
- Brown paper (from a grocery bag) or construction paper
- Crayons or markers
Trace around the end of your tube onto a piece of brown paper (or construction paper). Draw a bigger circle around that circle and then draw a lot of spokes between the two circles.
Cut along the spokes.
Put glue on the spokes and glue the cap onto one end of your tube.
Cut a piece of aluminum foil: about one and half times the length of your tube and about 6 inches wide.
Crunch the aluminum foil into two long, thin, snake-like shapes. Then twist each one into a spring shape.
Put the aluminum foil springs into your tube.
Pour some dry beans, dry rice, or unpopped popcorn into your tube. The tube should only be about 1/10 full. You can experiment to see how different amounts and different types of seeds and beans change the sound.
Make another cap from brown paper (the same as the first three steps) and cap your tube.
Optional: Decorate the tube by covering it with brown paper or construction paper, and then making designs with crayons or markers (or cut-out paper or stickers).
Rainforest designs are nice, especially brightly-colored butterflies, frogs, and flowers. Tiny construction paper butterflies (like the one on the right) are nice glued onto the rainstick.