Make a rain stick

Activity

Make an instrument from recycled and natural materials collected from around the garden that imitate the sound of rain.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Investigate different ways of creating sounds from objects falling 
  • Create an instrument that sounds like rain 

Preparation

It is good idea to show children a finished rain stick – most schools have clear plastic ones that show how beads pass through a series of chambers or baffles to create sounds.

Equipment needed

  • Cardboard tubes, a potato snack tube is ideal due to the lid, or a poster tube, or paper towel tubes
  • Double sided tape
  • Aluminium foil
  • Spilt peas, lentils, rice or gravel or  natural materials collected from the garden
  • Circles of card to make ends
  • Elastic bands
  • Tape 

Step by step

  1. Seal one end of the cardboard tube with a circle of card secured by an elastic band or tape if needed.
  2. Cut 2 pieces of aluminium foil as long as the tube. Scrunch each piece up and then coil around a stick to make a spring shape.
  3. Push the 2 springs of foil into the tube.
  4. Next add the seeds and stones. These can be collected from around the garden to extend the activity or use bought split peas or lentils.
  5. Seal the other end with another circle of card, band and tape. Decorate your tube with pens. Alternatively, collect leaves and seeds from around the garden and stick them on the tube using double sided tape.
  6. Tip the rain stick very slowly from side to side to make the sound of rain.
  7. Compare the sounds made from different sizes and amounts of seeds and different sizes of tube.

Hints & tips

  • Rain sticks are musical instruments, thought to have come from West Africa where they were made from hollowed out gourds and used to encourage and celebrate the arrival of rain.
  • Use this activity as part of Sensory Sensations class growing topic

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