Craft Around the World Series Rain Sticks

Craft Around the World Series Rain Sticks


November 18, 2020 - Author:

Enjoy learning how to make simple crafts from seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America & South America.


Introduce youth to some simple cultural traditional crafts from around the world.  Journey around seven continents, learning how to make simple crafts and having fun creating.


  • Learn the cultural history and origins of the craft.
  • Find the country on a map and/or globe.
  • Develop fine motor skills in drawing, cutting, and design.
  • Increase cultural awareness and creativity.

 Education Standards:

  • Understand the visual arts in relation to history and culture.
  • Apply geometric methods to solve design problems.

 Experiential Learning:

  • Create a cultural tool.

Use these phrases:

Do it, What happened, What’s important, So What, Now What?


Audience:  Suggested Grades K-12


South America is the fourth largest of the world’s continents. Home to 12 countries.



Rain sticks are usually made from dried cactus, reeds, or bamboo and then filled with pebbles or beans. It is believed that they were used by indigenous farming tribes in arid climates with the hopes of calling for rain for their crops.  Some say that the instrument was invented by the Aztecs, and that it later spread throughout Central and South America.


Developed by MSU Extension Educator, Janis Brinn with Resource from Que Rico La Cultura 4HCCS BU-08180


TIME: 30-45 minutes or multiple days depending upon the interest to learn more.


  • Markers, colored pencils, and/or paint (paint brushes if painting)
  • Feathers, beads, etc. for decoration
  • String or yarn
  • Tape (clear packing or duck tape work best), glue and/or rubber bands
  • Brown paper or colored paper
  • Optional piece of cardboard large enough to cut circles to fit on ends of carboard tube
  • Scissors
  • Foil or Chenille stems (Optional tooth picks)
  • Rice, beans, corn and/or pebbles
  • Cardboard paper tubes – paper towel or wrapping paper tubes
  • Optional: Samples and instructions


PROCEDURE:  How to make a Rain Stick

Use these instructions as a guide to help youth make a rain stick.  Encourage experimentation in decorating, design and materials.

  • Trace the round end of the tubes onto cardboard or thick paper to make two circles.  Cut out the circles to fit onto the two openings of the tube.
  • Tape and glue one end of the circles onto one end of the tube.
  • Optional—carefully push toothpicks through the tube so they come out the other side (hint: start the holes with a pin) Push in 12-14 toothpicks in various places around the tube.  Put a drop of glue on either end of the tube where toothpicks stick out.  Break off any pieces  that stick out too far.
  • You can add twisted chenille stems or foil shaped into twisted coils inside the tube rather than tooth picks for the rice, beans, corn and/or pebbles used for making sound.
  • Pour in a mixture of rice, corn, beans, and pebbles (or just one of these, depending on the sound to be created).  Pour in about a 1/2 cup for a paper towel tube and more for larger tubes.
  • Glue and tape the other cardboard or paper circle to seal the tube.
  • Decorate the tube with native designs or to look like a cactus or wrap with string or yarn, add

     decorative feather's and beads, painting, etc. 

Art Science

Be creative with your design.  Experiment for different musical sounds!

Experiment with different types of materials, try different types of containers, think of the environment and use recyclable  materials, and try different techniques. Ask questions & make discoveries!

What other uses can you think of for your rain stick?


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Janis Brinn

Janis Brinn

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