Chile is a country in South America, occupying a long narrow strip of land between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It is almost 3,000 miles long, yet averages only about 100 miles wide. Northern Chile is home to the world’s driest desert, where the rain stick is believed to have originated. Rain sticks were made from long, hollow cactus tubes that were dried in the sun. Then the spikes were removed and driven back into the cactus like nails. Small pebbles were then placed inside and the ends sealed. A sound like falling rain was made as the rain stick was turned, making it useful in desert ceremonies where it was believed to bring rain.
Materials (per rain stick):
- 18″ x 2″ cardboard mailing tube (You can find these at office supply stores or wherever commercial paper products are sold in your area.)
- 2 – 2″ cardboard circles (I cut them from empty cereal boxes. If your school has a die cutter, this would be a good time to use it!)
- 18″ x 8″ brown grocery bag paper
- 6″ x 6″ brown grocery bag paper
- YES! Paste and stiff glue brush or a good quality glue stick
- markers (assorted colors)
- 4 – medium size beads
- 2 – 12″ pieces twine
- 4 – feathers
- 3′ x 12″ aluminum foil
- masking tape
- 1/4 cup pop corn
- 2 – rubber bands
1. Glue cardboard circles (centered) onto the squares of brown paper and set aside.
2. Lay out the long strip of aluminum foil and carefully “scrunch” it into a long skinny “snake”, but don’t squeeze it too tight! (See photo below.)
3. Now, twist your foil snake into a loose coil about the length of your tube.
4. Next, slide the coil into your tube and secure with masking tape at each end.
5. Spread some glue around one end of your tube.
6. Place one of the papers (with the cardboard circle facing inward) over the end of your tube and press the edges down. Hold in place with a rubber band until dry.
7. Pour 1/4 cup popcorn or rice into the tube and seal the other end in the same way. (Your rain stick will sound different depending on what you fill it with, so it helps to have a sample of each and let students choose!)
8. Now, draw a colorful pattern onto the 8″ x 18″ brown paper.
9. Then scrunch up and carefully smooth out your paper about 8 times, until it has an evenly bumpy texture to it, resembling the texture of a cactus branch.
10. Spread glue over the back of your paper and roll it around your tube, overlapping itself and covering the loose edges of the paper you used to seal the ends.
11. Wrap a piece of twine twice around each end of your tube and tie in a knot.
12. Add a bead to each end and secure with a knot.
13. Spread a little glue onto the end of each of four feathers and stick them up into each of the beads. Let dry completely.