Rainsticks and Thunderstorms

Involved & Inclusive
Involved & Inclusive

To create a musical instrument, and put them all together to create a thunderstorm drama.


  • 1 fabric tube each (free from fabric stores) or any sturdy narrow tube cut into foot long (or approximately 20 cm long) 
  • 1/2 cup of rice, or beans for each participant
  • 1 meter each of duct tape, or a couple of rolls so that they can be shared 
  • Bristol board (enough to make two circles a centimeter or so larger for the end of the tube)
  • scissors
  • markers or bingo stamps and/or stickers 
  • wire cutters 
  • funnel 
  • 1 metre 10 gauge wire for each child making sure that the ends are folded over so they won’t poke the child (can get from a dollar store in rolls-sturdy enough to hold it’s shape yet flexible enough to be easily bent by participants).


Have the tubes cut into 1 foot or 20 cm pieces - one per participant Cut and roll 1 meter wire per person Trace out circles 2 per person that match the tubes - first trace with marker around the outside of the tube, then make a second line approx 2-3 cm bigger than the first drawn circle (make 2 of these - one for each end) cut around the larger circle making 2 per person Have a couple rolls of duct tape ready, and markers/bingo dabbers set out and any stickers you might want.


  1. Have the participants sitting at their spots.
  2. Hold up one of the circles and ask them to draw lines about 1 cm apart radiating out from the smaller circle and stopping there (like the sun)
  3. Have extra circles in case you need them
  4. Once you have checked their circles, stress that they cut on their lines and stop when they get to the smaller circle. Don’t go past, as the beans will fall out.
  5. Get them to cut the two circles (one for each end of the tube).
  6. Help to put one of these circles at the end of the tube and securely duct tape onto the tube, folding down the tabs you have created with your “sun” circles underneath the duct tape.
  7. Leaders can go around and tape these as they finish cutting.
  8. While they are waiting, they can decorate the sides of their tubes with markers
  9. Then ask them to fold up the wire into a long twisty snake so that the wire is all jumbled up. Make sure it is not in a ball, but extended out so it will fill the tube from end to end, and place inside the tube.
  10. Using the funnel into the open end of the tube, pour 1/2 cup rice or beans.
  11. Then with the other circle that they have made into their “sun”, duct tape that end over the open tube so that they can slowly rock the tube back and forth to get a “rain sound.
  12. They can finish decorating their tube.


  • Can pre cut the bristol board disks so that they are ready to fold over the ends.
  • Can paint the tubes with paint after all is done - acrylic paint will be more permanent.
  • Provide additional support, or have another participant work closely with those who have a disability, as needed.


  • Make sure that the ends are folded over each piece of wire and stress that they are careful not to poke their neighbour as they fold up the wire.
  • Scissor safety
  • Mention that they should be careful with the rice or beans that they don’t put into their mouths, ears, etc. and that they clean up right away if they pour the rice/beans on the floor so no one slips.


No wrap-up is necessary for this activity.

Obtained from: http://activeafterschool.ca/activities/create-rainsticks-perform-thunderstorm-drama