A rainstick is an instrument used to imitate the sound of rainfall; sometimes it is also called a rainmaker instrument. It is believed that the rainstick originated in Chile or Peru, but it has gained traction over the past 30 years as a novelty instrument in mainstream western music. The instrument is typically made out of a hollow wooden tube which is filled with pebbles. Creating a wooden rainstick requires immense technical know-how and special tools. However, it's possible and fun, to make a rainstick out of household materials.
Take the long cardboard tube -- the kind that come from a roll of wrapping paper is perfect -- and attach a square of waxed paper to one end with a rubber band. Make sure that it covers the opening entirely.
Pour in a handful of the rice or beads. Rice will create a soft pitter-patter, while beads -- like the cheap plastic kind available from most craft stores -- will sound like a steady downpour.
Attach a second square of waxed paper to the other end of the tube, in the same fashion as before. Make sure that it also covers the opening entirely.
Waxed paper tends to be easier to work with than regular paper and provides a nicer sound, but in a pinch any old piece of paper can be used in place of the waxed paper.