Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Make a Rainstick

If you’re teaching your son/daughter about rain or the rainforest, making a rain stick is a great craft to complement the lesson.

I’d seen this project ages ago and thought it would be fun but my son’s fine motor skills simply weren’t up to the task. Now that he’s older, I figured we’d give it a go. I’m glad I did.

What you need:
A bare paper towel tube
40-50 wooden toothpicks
School glue
Posterboard or heavy construction paper (trace the opening and cut 2 circles ¼ bigger than the tube; make several snips all around the circle from the outer edge in to the traced line)
1-2 tbsp. of rice, lentils, or other small beans
Push pin
Hot glue gun
Nippers or cutters to cut off the toothpick ends

Use a push pin to make holes in the paper towel tube about a ¼-inch apart. I used the seams on the paper towel tube as a guide and added another row of holes between these seams. Then I gave my son the box of toothpicks to feed through one hole and out a hole on the other side. You’ll end up with a downward spiral of toothpicks on the inside of your tube.

If your rainstick looks something like a medieval torture device, you’re on the right track. Once about 40-50 toothpicks are stuck in the tube, put a dot of school glue on each of the holes where the toothpicks are sticking out (this will prevent the toothpicks from falling out).

When the glue dries, snip off the ends of the toothpicks (be careful, they could go flying). Run a bead of hot glue around one of the ends and fold down the flaps you cut on one of the posterboard circles until the end of the tube is capped.

Have your child measure the beans/rice/lentils and pour into the tube. Hot glue the other circle of posterboard around the open end. Give your child paints, markers, or strips of paper to glue over the tube to decorate it. Now, slowly turn the rainstick and listen to the sound of falling rain!

I practically had to beg my son to decorate his rainstick. All he wanted to do was play with it!

After we were done with this craft we read two great books about rainforests: “Amazon River Rescue,” an Adventures of Riley book by Amanda Lumry and Bonnie Worth’s “If I Ran the Rainforest” from the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library.

To read the original directions for this activity, visit 


  1. This looks like a lot of fun! I'm curious to know how long it holds up in the hands of its excited creator.

  2. Glad to hear it held up. I'm sure it will take a similar beating at our house. ;)

  3. Nice to meet you New Follower from Planet Weidknecht's Sunday Hop Please follow me back at and check out my website great deals!

    Takes me back to the days when I homeschooled my boys.

  4. This was really cool, I've never even made a rainstick before! New follower from the Planet Weidknecht blog hop :).

  5. Thanks for sharing. There is a teacher at our school who uses her rainstick to capture the childrens' attention. They all know that when they hear that beautiful sound they need to stop, look and listen.

  6. Thanks for stopping by! I'm now following you on GFC! Lots of great ideas you got here!! Def gonna look around some more, I already see lots I can use in our lessons! :D

  7. What a GREAT idea! We're definitely going to have to try this!

  8. wonderful & fun idea!

    This will be one of our "showcase" crafts at this week's Sunday Showcase! Thanks for linking up your idea.