Rain Sticks

by Early Math Counts

The easiest way to make rain stick is to use paper towel tubes, rice and tape, but if you want to create rain sticks that really sound like falling rain, try this.

Rain Sticks

Materials Needed:

Paper towel tubes (1 per child)

Corrugated Cardboard (enough to fill each tube)

rice (the lease expensive possible)

Small cups to distribute the rice

Supplies for decorations (paint and markers keep it simple)


  1. Before presenting the activity to the children, prepare the materials.  Cut the corrugated cardboard so that when it is rolled up it slides easily into the paper towel tube.  Make sure that it is a little shorter than the tube.
  2. As each child comes over to take a turn, give him/her one paper towel tube and one piece of precut cardboard.  Show the children how they can roll up the cardboard and slide it into the tube.  Once they have that step complete, tape a piece of cardboard over one end of the tube.
  3. Next, give each child a small cup with rice.  Have them pour the rice into the open one of the tube.  Since the cardboard is inside, it won’t simply pour in.  They may have to work the rice in a bit, but it is this tightness that slows down the rice and makes it really sound like rain.
  4.  After the children have their rice inside, tape (or wrap) another piece of cardboard to the open end.  The children are now free to decorate it in any way they like.

Send out a message to parents that you are making rain sticks with the children and you need paper towel tubes, and corrugated cardboard.  You may be surprised by how many parents have these things laying around the house and are happy to donate them to the classroom.

The trick to making rain sticks that sound like rain, is to slow the rice down inside the tube.  There are all sorts of activity plans available that ask you to put nails or toothpicks in the cardboard, but I have found that the corrugated cardboard works best.  The children will love this.

2 Replies to “Rain Sticks”

  1. I\’ve used rain sticks as a math and music activity. I allowed the children to each measure out how many beads they wanted and how much rice they would use in order to have their rain sticks make a lot of sound.

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