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Rain sticks


A rain stick is a long, hollow tube partially filled with small pebbles or beans. Around the inside there are pins or nails so that when the tube is turned around, the beans fall and make the sound of rain.

Cultural notes

Rain sticks are popular in many cultures around the world.

In parts of South America, they were made with dried cactuses.

They are also found in West Africa.

In Southeast Asia, they are made with bamboo.

Some of our rain sticks are painted with Australian Aboriginal patterns.

Suggested activities

Often, child care centres use rain sticks during music play. You can shake it, tip it to and fro, twirl it slowly, or rock it back and forth to make different sounds and rhythms.

Like drums, rain sticks are a simple instrument that kids love to play. They can be good for exploring Aboriginal or South American cultures as they are painted with beautiful patterns.

However, rain sticks can also be incorporated with activities to do with water, rain, geography, etc. Pour water from a watering can onto a hard surface. Does it sound like rain? Does it sound the same as the rain stick?

Rain sticks are a good addition to sensory play or sensory tables.

They are also good for using with children with disabilities as they are  a simple sensory experience.

After playing with rain sticks or talking about water, children can make their own rain sticks quite easily for a fun craft project.

External Links

In this video, you can see how to make a rain stick without having to use nails or toothpicks.


For more information about using rain sticks with children with disabilities:

Related items in our catalogue

Rain musical instruments:

rain drum

rain board

waterfall shaker


Water resources:

water well

water basket headrest

doll carrying water

Everybody Needs Water (book)


Aboriginal resources about water:

water dreaming poster

Tiddalick (book)

The research for this resource was made possible through a grant from the Central Coast Council.