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Make Your Own Rainstick

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    The Exploratorium

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Make Your Own Rainstick

Rainsticks, filled with pebbles and seeds, create sounds that mimic falling rain. Instead of buying a pre-made one, how about building your own with material you can find around your house!

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • A long cardboard tube that is about 1 1/2–2 inches (4–5 centimeters) in diameter (the cardboard tube from a roll of wrapping paper works well or you can tape two or three paper-towel rolls together; you can also use a narrow poster tube)
  • Marker (any color)
  • About forty 1-inch (2.5-cm) nails for every 12 inches (30 cm) of tube
  • Masking or packing tape
  • Two 3 x 5 index cards (or plastic end caps if you are using a poster tube)
  • Scissors
  • A few handfuls of raw rice or small dry beans, or a mix of such things


  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Music
  • Performing Arts


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Access Rights:

  • Free access



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