Make a Rain Stick

Second grade activities provided by .

Plop, Plip, Splish, Splash. Rain is nature's way of nourishing our earth. This project, making a rain stick, is all about the sound of rain and opens the door for discussing different cultures, weather, cycles of growth, renewal, and life. Plus, rain sticks make wonderful musical instruments. Each "instrument" will be unique and special. Be prepared to have fun and be creative.

make a rain stick

What You Need:

* Cardboard tube (paper towel tubes, gift wrap tubes, mailing tubes, or even tubes from the craft store work well)
* Masking tape
* Flat head nails (Shorter than the diameter of your tube) you may need a small hammer.)
* 1 cup dried seeds, beans, beads, rice, pebbles, macaroni etc. (mixed)
* Materials to decorate the tube such as twine, paint, flat sided gems, foam paper, cutout pictures of the rain forest, yarn, shells, markers etc.
* Funnel (optional)

What You Do:

1. First poke or pound your nails into the tube from top to bottom at intervals. I find that it is easiest to do this in the seam. You are doing this so that the rice and bean mixture has something to break its fall inside the tube. There is no pattern to where you place the nails—let your child decide.
2. Seal one of the ends. If you have a cap you can cap off one end now, otherwise use masking tape to cover one of the ends.
3. Now, fill the rain stick. Again, there is no magic amount, depending on your preference. After you put some of your fill in, put your hand over the top and try your stick out. You may want to add or take away some. When you get the sound you want, tape the end of your stick closed.
4. Decorate your tube. Wrap twine around it. Glue shells to it. Color or paint it. When you are done you will have a wonderful rain stick.
5. This is a great time to discuss precipitation with your child. Explain that water vapor from rivers, lakes and oceans and forms clouds of water droplets. When the drop are heavy enough to fall, we get rain! There are three types of clouds: Stratus clouds are spread out, horizontal layered clouds, and causes drizzly rain. Cumulus clouds look like large cotton balls and are puffy, they form large thunderstorms. Cirrus clouds look like tufts or curls of hair and are light wispy clouds. They form at high altitudes, and do not have enough moisture to cause rain. Snow happens when the water droplets in stratus and cumulus clouds meet cold air--they freeze and form the beautiful ice crystals that we call snow.
6. Now, ask your child to experiment with her rain stick. Practice making big rainstorms, like the ones that come from cumulus clouds, and try to make slow rains, like the ones that come from stratus clouds. Your family will have fun and be learning while they do it.

-- Jessica McBrayer

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