DIY: Rain Stick

Make a rainstick using recycled materials and things from around the house! A fantastic musical instrument for young children that sounds just like falling rain!DIY rainstick tutorial

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 I’ve been wanting to try making one of these for so long! A parent of a child I once taught told me how to make a rain stick (or rain maker) while we were doing a project about the rainforest. It is so easy!

You need a tube of any size made from VERY thick, strong cardboard or soft plastic. An ordinary toilet roll is too thin and won’t work. Apart from that you just need a hammer, some small nails (I used panel pins) and something to put inside the tube to make the noise with. We used a big scoop of butter beans and pinto beans (left over from the dinosaur small world play!)

Tap the small nails into the tube at random intervals until there is one every few inches or so. Not very technical, but it doesn’t really need to be!

If your two year old begs to have a go too, then that’s up to you. We went with it and she had a really good attempt at banging (with the wrong side of the hammer lots of the time!) I tapped a couple in part way for her and she had fun bashing them the rest of the way and was pretty impressed with herself.

The right way around now. Look at that concentration!

This is what it will look like on the inside of the tube when you have finished. The more nails you tap in, the longer it will take for the beans to fall through, making the noise last longer.

Then you need to drop your chosen filling inside. I’m sure there are 101 things you could use from rice to macaroni, couscous to beads!

Next she covered some plain paper in glue and wrapped the tube up in it. You can choose to cover it in whatever way you please, but beware that the nails need to be covered somehow to stop little fingers working out a way to pull them out!

We needed two sheets of A4 paper and she needed help to wrap it securely.

Ta da! Ready to be decorated.

Next she covered the whole tube in glue then had a wonderful time emptying the contents of the Jar of Wonder and sticking them all over it.

I had a packet of animal print papers from the £1 shop and we tore them into pieces together (a fun activity all by itself!) and added those too. They seem appropriate and fit the jungly rain stick theme!

A lot of concentrated effort went into this decorating!

The finished product! She could have gone on adding layers and layers of collage if I’d left her to it! Instead I gave her another stack of coloured paper and she started sticking on there instead.

Testing it out! It sounds fabulous, like a slow shower of heavy rain. Just perfect for doing rain dances and adding to our music basket.

“Hear dat Mummy!”

This activity is good for:
* creativity and imagination
* knowledge and understanding of the world: instruments, tools, building, design and technology
* distinguishing and describing sounds
* music making
* dance and movement
* fine motor skills: sticking, tearing, glueing, tapping nails, shaking


  1. says

    Great project! And I am just thrilled that you’ve shared the secret of how to get that falling noise, which we all love! My kids are going to love this one! Great to “meet” you and thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  2. says

    How Cute! Thanks for sharing! I knew these were easy to make but I never actually knew how. We may have to try this soon!

  3. says

    How strange, Anna! I was telling Zhenia all about the pics I saw on another blog of young kids banging nails into blocks of wood and how Max would love it and we should let him have a go. Zhen thought the idea was bonkers – mainly safety concerns. Well, you know what, I’m going to show him the pics of Cakie. Surely he can’t refuse, seeing how much fun she had, no blood in sight, *and* she’s 3 months younger than Max :)

  4. says

    It turned out awesome! Featuring this craft in this week’s high paw! Thanks for participation and hope to see you again this week!

  5. says

    Oh my! A toddler one too!! How lovely. My son would love helping me make one! love how pretty the final rain shaker turned out!! Perfect perfect!

    (thanks for linking up to Kids Get Crafty)

  6. says

    I suspect there will be quite a few folk surprised at how young little miss is doing this! There is a feeling in sch that little ones can’t manage that sort of thing! Great to show otherwise!

  7. says

    I love your website!!! I just found myself without a job and have a ton of time on my hands with my 2 year old son, such a blessing, but your site is helping me and him do fabulous fun mommy and me time! Thank you so much for your site!

  8. says

    Love the rain stick idea! Such a cheap way to make an out of the ordinary instrument :) I pinned this idea to remind myself to have my girls make their own.

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