For a kid, the only thing better than playing with a noisy toy is getting to make a noisy toy. A rain stick is the perfect recycled craft to satisfy your little noisemaker. Using found objects, like a cardboard tube and some dry beans, means this craft will cost you next to nothing. It’s also a great opportunity to teach your children about giving new life to things that look like trash.
You can make rain sticks in almost any size, based on the length of cardboard tube you use. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a medium sized rain stick for a bigger child, as well as a smaller version that works as a baby rattle. If you have larger tubes available, you could even make a giant-sized version of this rain stick!
1. Gather your supplies.
- A cardboard tube (paper towel roll, wrapping paper core, shipping tube)
- Aluminum foil
- Rice and/or dry beans (approximately ¼-½ cup)
- Duct tape
- Items for decoration (feathers, buttons, ribbons, etc) or paint
2. Make a twist.
Using a piece of aluminum foil approximately 1 ½ times the length of your cardboard tube, create a foil snake and then twist it into a coil that is slightly smaller in diameter than the tube.
3. Prep the tube.
You’ll need to close up one end of the cardboard tube before you start filling it. Cut a piece of duct tape slightly larger than the opening of the tube. Place a smaller piece of paper or duct tape in the center of the sticky side, so that the part facing inside the tube is not sticky. Press the tape down carefully and firmly around the end of the tube.
4. Install the spiral and add “rain.”
Place the foil spiral inside the tube carefully. Pour ¼ cup rice or dry beans (or a combination) into the tube. Cover the open end of the tube with your hand and tip the rain stick over to test the sound. If you want more rain sound, add more rice or beans.
5. Seal it in.
Tape the top end of the rain stick closed with the same technique you used for the bottom end.
Once your rain stick is assembled and sealed up, it’s time to decorate. Older kids might enjoy painting the tube, or making a drawing to wrap around the tube. You can also use extra decorations from found objects by gluing on feathers, buttons, ribbons, or just about anything you want.
To make a homemade rain stick a little more baby-friendly, wrap the tube in colored duct tape, taking care to double-tape the ends and to completely cover the cardboard. This will protect it from baby’s curious mouth and prevent the tube from breaking open and exposing potential choking hazards.
Images via Cat DiStasio for Inhabitots.