Rain Stick: A Fun Easy Homemade Instument To Make With Kids

Finished rain stick

Rain Stick

This instrument does a nice job of creating the sound of rain lulling you to sleep in a tent on a warm summer's night (I love that sound!), however it is not especially loud and the duration is not terribly long. If you want a longer duration sound, try a longer tube, such as a wrapping paper tube. Many DIY rain sticks involve using nails. I was not comfortable with having nails in the finished product for a toddler. This version slows the movement of the grains with aluminum foil, which I felt much better about.

You will need:

  • paper towel roll
  • construction paper
  • markers/dot markers
  • duct tape
  • packing tape
  • aluminum foil
  • wooden skewers or dowels
  • rice (sand, pebbles, etc)
  • scissors

To make the DIY rain stick:

You'll need to trace the ends of the paper towel roll. Make small tabs around each circle to attach to the sides of the paper towel tube. Check that the remaining paper covers around the tube (if not, grab a second piece of paper). Cut the paper to fit the tube. Hint: leave a little extra allowance for wiggle room.

completed ends to cover the rain stick
This is what the ends should like like after you have cut them out.

Provide the paper and markers to the child and invite them to decorate it however they want. I loved how the dot markers splashed out and made little droplets. It reminded me of the rain that this instrument is impersonating.

my toddler decorating the outside of her instrument

While they are decorating, tape one end of the paper towel tube shut. I did not want the rice to stick to the tape, so I first placed a piece of duct tape over the end, covering the opening completely, with the sticky side out. Then I covered that tape with a longer piece, this time with the sticky side facing in. Finally I place a third piece of tape perpendicular to the second piece of tape. Nice and secure.

foil crinkled and made into a coil

With one end sealed, you can now work on the center of the instrument. Help your child crinkle up the aluminum foil and wind it into a coiled roughly the length of the paper towel tube. Place the skewers into the middle. Have them pour the rice into the tube. You can cover up the open end with your hand and turn it upside down. Listen to the sound it makes. If you are happy with it, you can seal up the other end. If not, you can adjust the contents until you are happy with the sound it produces.

stuff the foil into the tube, then place the skewers inside the foil

With the clear packing tape, affix the construction paper. For extra durability, place a layer of packing tape over the construction paper.

easy DIY rainstick activity for toddlers and preschoolers

Congratulations, you have an instrument that makes the pleasant patter of rain.  To "play" this instrument simply turn it upside down and allow the rice to fall to the opposite end.  I seriously played with this for about ½ an hour while Little M. played with the seed shaker she made the other day.

If you found this activity useful, please let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

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  1. This is great! I am not a crafter, but I feel like I could help my daughters make this. I love the sound of rain sticks so it makes it even more likely we will do it!

  2. We've made a rain stick once before. It was a fun project and I LOVE the sound they make :-)

  3. What a cool craft! I've seen "rain stick" DIYs for kids before, but they usually lack the "guts" for the rice to run through. This is easy and safe for kids, and it seems it would much better approximate the real thing.

  4. excellent craft to do with children and very easy to tie into a variety of studies.

  5. Haven't heard of this but it seems a great instrument and fun to make! Thanks for sharing ♥️ ♥️ By any chance you are interested on doing collaborations, you can check out the collaborations portal of Phlanx.com and connect with amazing brands!



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