How to Make a Rainmaker Stick

Written by michelle watson
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How to Make a Rainmaker Stick
Ancient people believed that using rain sticks could bring rain. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Traditional rain sticks are hollow tubes of dry wood filled with a handful of pebbles, and cactus or palm needles stuck into the side of the tube. When the tube is tilted, the pebbles slide from one end to the other, hitting the needles as they pass, and the resulting sound resembles rainfall. Rain sticks, probably invented by people native to Central and South America, were thought to bring rain. Kids can make their own rain sticks using a few simple materials.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Long, thin mailing tube (1-1/2 by 48 inches) or a sturdy wrapping-paper tube
  • Marker
  • Thin finishing nails that are shorter than the width of the tube
  • Hammer
  • Dry beans and rice
  • Sand
  • Wrapping paper (optional)
  • Coloured duct tape (optional)
  • Craft embellishments (optional)

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  1. 1

    Draw dots on the exterior of the tube approximately two inches apart. Leave one inch on both ends of the tube free of dots.

  2. 2

    Pound a nail through each dot straight into the tube.

  3. 3

    Seal one end of the mailing tube with the included lid. If you use a wrapping paper tube, seal the end by covering with duct tape.

  4. 4

    Place one handful each of beans, rice and sand into the tube. Seal the other end of the tube with the lid or duct tape.

  5. 5

    Tilt the tube and listen to the sound the objects make as they slide from one end to the other. Remove the lid and add more beans, rice or sand until you achieve the desired sound.

Tips and warnings

  • Wedge the mailing tube between two large books so that it doesn't roll when hammering the nails.
  • Decorate the tube by covering it with wrapping paper. Use strips of coloured duct tape to make a design on the wrapping paper. Draw pictures with markers and embellish with craft supplies, such as ribbon, stickers, foam shapes or plastic gems.

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