How to Make a Rainstick Instrument

Here’s how to make a rainstick using a cardboard tube and some crafting materials. The kids loved making this homemade instrument and using it to explore sound!

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Rainstick Craft for Kids (and Science Activity)- Explore sound with a homemade instrument! ~


Homemade rainsticks make a great craft for kids and a fun science activity too. The kids love the creative freedom of being able to decorate their rainsticks and especially love using them to make music and explore various sounds created by the different materials placed inside the tubes.  (This post contains affiliate links.)


Rainstick Craft for Kids (and Science Activity)- Explore sound with a homemade instrument! ~

How to Make a Rainstick Instrument

Materials for Homemade Rainstick

  • Sturdy cardboard tube (We used the empty cardboard tube from an aluminum foil roll.)
  • Paint (This is our favorite tempera paint!)
  • Large, brown paper grocery bag
  • Yarn
  • Rubberbands
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaners and/or craft wire
  • Beads, rice, beans, or other material for inside the rainstick


Directions for Homemade Rainstick

1. Start by painting your cardboard tube. We pained ours to resemble a piece of hollow wood. Let it dry.


paint your cardboard tube


2. Cut out two circles from a large, paper grocery bag. We crumpled the paper up to make it soft and look worn. We also cut some fringe around the outside of the circle.


3. Attach one circle to the end of your cardboard tube using a rubber band.


rubber band one end with a paper circle


4. Experiment with different ways to fill your rainsticks.

Lucy’s favorite combination was placing a few twisted pipe cleaners into the rainstick along with rice. It sounded most like a typical sound you’d expect from a rainstick.


fill your rainstick with rice


In a separate rainstick we tried twisted craft wire with dried beans. This was Theo’s favorite combination because the sound was louder with the hard beans knocking into the metal wire as they traveled down the tube.


fill your rainstick with beans


5. Once you’re happy with the sound of your rainstick, rubberband the other paper circle to the opposite end.


6. Tie some different colored pieces to yarn to each end.


Rainstick Craft for Kids (and Science Activity)- Explore sound with a homemade instrument! ~


Create music and explore sound with your homemade rainsticks!


Rainstick Craft for Kids (and Science Activity)- Explore sound with a homemade instrument! ~


Another Rainstick Craft Option

You can also buy a rainstick craft kit from Discount School Supply that has everything you need to make a set of 12. This set is similar to the project described above in the post, but uses foam stickers as decoration and beads and cardboard as the insert for the tube. It’s a nice option if you’re creating with a large group and want all the materials prepped and ready to go.

I bought this kit to do with my kindergarten enrichment class. I loved that everything was ready to go and it was basically mess-free!



Be sure to check out STEAM Kids book and ebook for even more creative STEM and STEAM ideas!

STEAM Kids: 50+ STEAM STEM activities for kids



Rainstick Craft and science activity for Kids - Explore sound with a homemade instrument! Fun STEM / STEAM  activity for kindergarten, first, and second grade! ~


  1. These were my favorite back when I was in grade school ! I love the sound they make ! I also loved the tornado’s made with two liter bottles ! Thanks for a great project !

  2. I love how you let them explore different items to put in their rain sticks and let them choose their favorites to use. So much fun!

  3. We love how experimenting with the sound of the rainstick is a part of your steps! We see such potential here to explore how the materials, amount of rice, shape of the spirals, even the material that someone chooses to put on the ends affects the sound. What a great way to learn, explore, and play at the same time! Thank you for sharing!


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