Rain sticks, the tubular musical instruments that mimic the sound of rain, have an obscure background. Several cultures, including the Aztecs and the Diaguita Indians of Chile, have a claim to rain sticks’ origins. No matter where they came from, children love to create and play with these easy-to-make musical instruments. Whether you have extra time on a rainy day or your children want to remember the sound of rain during a hot, dry summer, save your paper towel rolls and welcome the pitter patter of rain drops.
Draw dots about one inch apart along the spiral seam of the cardboard roll. Poke one straight pin or nail into the roll at each mark. Do not let the pin poke through to the other side. Place a long piece of masking tape over the pin or nail heads.
Using the end of the cardboard roll, trace two circles on cardboard. Cut out the circles. Tape one cardboard circle on an open side of the roll. Make sure you use enough masking tape to completely seal it.
Pour a handful of dried beans or rice into the open end of the roll. Cover the open end with the other circle of cardboard and tape over it to form a seal.
Color the rain stick with crayons, markers or paint. Children can decorate their rain sticks with traditional images of animal or scenes from nature.
Rice makes a softer rain sound and dried beans create a louder noise.