Making a rain stick is a great afternoon activity for kids of all ages. This rain stick is extra special because we make it look like a giraffe, but feel free to make it look like any other animal you choose! Featured in our Giraffe Activity Plans, this is one of favorite projects to date. No matter your child’s ability, this project is easily modified to meet them at their skill level, as outlined in the directions below. Let’s go make a rain stick with kids!
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Before doing this project, we recommend reading the story Giraffes Can’t Dance. This makes it even more fun to dance with your rain stick when it is all finished!
What You Need:
- Cardboard Rolls, the longer the better!
- Paper towel rolls are more flimsy, so if you have a roll from a package, foil, etc that will be more sturdy.
- Paint or markers
- Optional: washi tape, nails, aluminum foil
How to Make a Giraffe Rain Stick with Kids:
First, Paint the tube.
If you are using paper towel tubes, they are more flimsy, so painting them will take a little more care.
The tubes can also be left brown if that is what the child prefers, but we painted our tube white to match the skin of a giraffe. One of our tubes was already white, so we didn’t paint that one at all.
Second, Paint the spots.
After your white paint has dried, add the giraffe’s spots.
We mixed a little brown and orange together to make our giraffe spots, but feel free to be creative! Maybe you want a pink spotted giraffe!
Either paint brushes, paint daubers, or fingers can be used!
Next, Tape off the end.
Since we will be filling our tubes with something to make noise, we need to block off the ends. Use tape to do so. We used clear packing tape, but any large, sticky tape can be used to block the ends.
Another option would be to use paper and then tape the paper down on the end of the tube.
Optional: Add washi tape.
To dress up the ends of our rain sticks and make them more secure, we added washi tape around the packing tape.
Bonus point if you use giraffe patterned washi tape!
Add nails or foil.
This step is also optional but will make your rain stick sound more authentic!
Did you know real rain sticks have cactus needles nailed into them to make the sound as you turn it? To replicate that, we nailed small nails into our tube. (Great fine motor skill activity!) This will only work if you are using a sturdier tube, not a paper towel tube.
If you are using a paper towel tube, try rolling up some aluminum foil and sticking that in the tube. This also makes a nice rain effect sound.
See this fun tutorial on ClimateKids to learn more about rain sticks and how they fill their tubes!
Add your filler!
Now for the fun part! Using a small funnel, add your beans, rice, quinoa, barley, whatever you think will make a fun rain sound!
This is an excellent activity for kiddos of all ages, but if you making this with a toddler that isn’t quite ready for the previous steps, you can complete the rain stick up to this point and then let them pour in the filler!
Seal it up.
When you have enough filler, seal up the open end of the rain stick the same way you did the previous side.
Now it’s time to make it rain!