Saturday, 23 November 2013

DIY Rain Sticks

Another paper roll craft!

As we have many empty toilet roll holders at home, I decided to do another project I've seen around on Pinterest - the rain stick, a cylindrical musical instument that mimics the sound of the rain when upended or shaken.

Rain sticks are believed to be from South America, and traditionally used to invoke rain. Traditionally, rain sticks are made from dried cactus (which are hollow) with the thorns pushed inside in a spiral or helix pattern, and filled with small pebbles.

Since I don't have any cacti, but I do have an abundance of paper towel holders, I used those instead.

In place of the thorns, I used two different materials - metal paper fasterners and bamboo skewers.

What you need:
Empty paper roll holders
Sharp pencil
Bamboo skewers OR
Paper fasteners
Masking tape
Stiff paper or cardboard

First, I used a sharp pencil to poke holes in the roll. I used the spiral seam of the roll itself to ensure that the holes were in a spiral pattern. I'm not sure how essential it is to have the spiral pattern, though. Maybe it is more important when using bigger pebbles or beans to ensure that they don't get stuck. However, since this is how they're supposedly made traditionally, that's what I did too! (No point reinventing the wheel.)

This is the type of paper fastener I used, in case anyone was wondering.

Next, I pushed the paper fasteners through the holes in one tube. In the other, I pushed bamboo skewers through, cutting the extras off.

A photo showing the spiral pattern from the outside.

The two tubes with the different insides.

I then secured the fasteners and bamboo skewers with masking tape as I didn't want the Little Ones to pull them out and hurting themselves.

I sealed one end of the tube by attaching circles made from stiff paper with masking tape.

Little Man helped me to fill the tubes with rice. (We used left over coloured rice from our sensory play a long time back).

We tested it a few times before we were satisfied with the sound.

When we were finally satisfied (we used quite a bit), I sealed the tubes up with more pre-cut circles and masking tape.

Then we decorated it by gluing construction paper over the whole thing and paper cut outs of shapes and flowers.

We put rice in both tubes, and due to the different material used, they sound a little different. The tube with the bamboo skewers sound a little softer to me, but not significantly so.

Little Lady quite enjoys turning it over to listen to the sounds. Little Man, in addition to playing with it as intended, has turn these into trains and 'chutting wheels' (shredders).

What I would do differently if I were to do this again:
1) I would use longer tubes or join two tube to make a longer tube. This would make the 'rain' last longer.
2) I would put the bamboo skewers / paper fasteners closer together. I think this might slow down the rice / pebbles, once again making the sound last longer. (I'm just guessing here though. If anyone has tried this, do let me know.)
3) I would also try a different 'filling'. Maybe beans or small pebbles, to see how that sounds.

Little Man: 3 years 5 months
Little Lady: 16 months

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