It has been blistering outside with the heat wave and living in the concrete heating pad called Phoenix. We almost got a storm, even if it was part Haboob (dust storm), but because of how hot it is the thing dissipated before it got to us. Very disappointing as a little rain might cool this place to under 100 for a day, which would be awesome! So, what do you do when the kids ask for rain? You make a rain stick! Something that provides at least the sound so the kids can pretend there is a huge storm outside. The baby’s love the sound and the kids enjoy feeling like they have control over the weather even if it’s just in their imaginations. Amazing how a kid’s imagination can cool them off almost as much as the real thing!
A tube or two (depending on how many you want to make) (mail sticks or poster tubes work great)
White construction paper
Rice and/or dried split peas
A broom handle
Clear packing tape or clear contact paper
Start with the foil. Measure the length to be 1 ½ the length of the tube you are using. Roll it tightly into a long line. Make sure to squeeze it tightly so it’s nicely packed. Once you are done, twist it around the end of the broom handle so it forms a spiral. Try to keep it as tight as possible for a heavier rain sound. Tape one end of the foil to the inside of the tube lid using duct tape. I suggest taping around the end and then taping the tape to the lid for added security. Be careful not to tape the sides of the lid or you can create a hole or make it so the lid and tube won’t seal. Next, thread the coiled foil inside the tube attaching the tube lid once threaded through. Tape with duct tape, I start by taping the lid down onto the tube and then going around the end of the tube with a round of two of tape, thus taping down the ends of the applied tape and adding to the security of your tube.
From here things can get a little messy. Add your Rice and Peas (I like this mixture because they seem to add more rain sounds since their different shapes bounce off each other and last a little longer due to the shape contrast). You want to fill your tube between 1/4 and 1/3 of the way full. Any fuller and you may not get a rain sound or it will be very short. Be careful of falling rice and peas as they will need to be swept up or vacuumed depending on your floor.
Now, this part is tricky mainly because of the area to work with, you will be attaching the other end of the foil to the lid of the tube. The same method as before should be used but don’t pull too hard or you can uncoil your foil. For this reason you may need to use feel to tape it on or have someone bend down and look up at what you are doing directing you. Once, the foil is attached securely close the lid and tape it down as you did with the other end.
The fun part is here. Have the kids paint the construction paper with their own idea of rain. They can use any color, we chose blue because water is blue, and have them paint away. Allow the painting to dry than wrap it around your tube attaching with clear packing tape. If you or the kids want add bits of felt, jewels for raindrops, or other rain/water like foam cut outs to the outside of the tube on the construction paper. Wrap your entire tube in contact paper or with clear packing tape to protect the design and add to the security of your tube for less breaking and spills.
You are all set for an inside shower! Talk to the kids about rain clouds and how they form, play dress up as if it were actually raining and have the kids decide what is needed, experiment with the kids on turning the tube quickly and fast asking what they hear or notice, pretend to water the paper flowers (see previous blog on making tissue paper flowers), get a book about rain sticks like The Rainstick, A Fable by
Sandra Chisholm Robinson, or sing songs about rain with the kids! Enjoy your rainy indoor day and escape the heat! Make sure to write down anything insightful the kids say or do with the rain sticks. In closing, the weather may not be pleasant and the indoors claustrophobic, but the doors to the entire world are just a few old items with a dab of imagination away and you are only limited by what you can imagine.