Homemade Rainsticks

On a rainy day last week I remembered something fun I read by another educator, Merri Williams in Decatur, Georgia.  After buying one of the large 30″ commercial rainsticks for use in class, she discovered a fun way for families to make one to share at home.  Here’s her idea:

“You need a sturdy cardboard tube, the sturdier the better.  Paper towel cores will work, but they are sometimes not strong enough to withstand usage.  Thick gift-wrapping paper cores are much better, and you can cut them to whatever size you want using an Exact-o knife.

Using extra-heavy duty aluminum foil, make a lengthwise strip (either across the foil or up & down, depending on the length of the tube you’ve chosen) that is just shorter than your cardboard tube.  Crumple the foil lengthwise from both sides, but not tightly.  You want to leave some channels in it for the rice to run down through the tube.

Cover and seal one end of the tube tightly with first plastic wrap, then thick paper.  Wrap it around the end of the tube, and tape it securely with colored plastic tape.

Next, play with the column of crumpled foil, spreading it out a little here and there down the length, to make it smaller in diameter in some places, then open it out a little bit in others to make it bigger.  You don’t want it to be completely crumpled shut.  That defeats the purpose.

Insert the column of crumpled aluminum foil into the cardboard tube.  Pull on one corner of the foil enough that it stretches to the edge of the tube where you can tape it down inside the core or onto the edge.

Add some dry rice into the tube and listen for it falling down through the tube.  Depending on the size, you may need more or less rice to get the sound you want.  You may decide to add some more foil, too.  It all depends on what sound you want.

Other options of materials to add are clean, dry sand or millet grains (bird seed).

Finish the tube by sealing first with plastic wrap (I make mine several layers) taped down securely, then a layer of thick paper, again taped with colored plastic tape, available at Walmart or any hardware store.

Then you can wrap the entire outside of the tube with wrapping paper or paper that you (or a child) has decorated, using markers, paints, stickers, etc.  You can add adhesive foam letters for a child’s name.   Voila!  Your own personally designed rainstick!”

Sounds like a fun idea for a rainy (or sunny) day!  Thanks, Merri for sharing.

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