Assembling A Rain Stick – 1st Grade

1st Graders assembled their rain sticks this past week.  Of course, we ran out of time so we had to seal the tops with foil but that’s  okay because it worked out in the end.  As you know, they used oil pastels to blend aboriginal colors together for their rain stick sleeve.  Prior to that, they designed the rain sticks and dotted their caps.

From there, we went through a step by step to make the rain sticks take on their own “life.

First, glue the sleeve, like wrapping paper, around the tube you’ve collected (paper towel tube, toilet paper tube, whatever). Hold it on for at least 30 slow seconds to ensure it sticks.

From there, each student gets a piece of foil that they roll up and scrunch tightly.  Show them how to spiral or coil the foil (this is hard for some) and if that doesn’t work, have them create a  wavy line with the foil.

Have students fit the coil or wavy line of foil into the tube you have with the sleeve. (hint: the more foil you have students coil, the slower the rice will trickle in the tube).

To cap the ends and make sure the rice is in, it is important to have some rubber bands handy.  Because we ran out of time, we had to quick cap in foil and we will replace the foil with the dotted caps they made next class time.  Have students place the tube vertically on the table.  Using whatever piece of material they intend to cap the end with, place it over the opening in the center.  Bend over the sides and wrap a rubber band around it twice to secure it. Flip the rain stick over and using a small cup, pour a small handful of rice or bird seed into the opening.  Repeat the capping like you did for the bottom.

Have students test the rain stick by slowly turning it up and down.  If they need more sound, add more rice or bird seeds.  If you are like my class and we ran out of time because of an unexpected drill and assembly, then just remove the rubber bands and replace the foil with the paper cap you made.

The rubber bands are nice because they allow you to make repairs and changes as students gain more practice with the rain sticks. Our students will be using them as instruments at our Fine Arts Night next week.


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