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Make Your Own Rainstick

Source Institutions

    The Exploratorium

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Make Your Own Rainstick

In this activity, leaners build their very own rainsticks, an instrument filled with pebbles and seeds that create sounds like falling rain. Save costs by using material found around the home. Includes step-by-step instructions with diagrams, an explanation, and a helpful how-to video. Try this with young learners for some musical fun.

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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