Rain Stick/Maracas

Now here’s a fun and creative craft kids of all ages will enjoy!  Making rain sticks and maracas using dried beans from the garden is great fun, but did you know the rain stick was created as a tool to summon the rain Gods?  A long time ago, somewhere in Chile or Peru, the native people believed they could bring on the rainstorms if they made a personal call to the Rain Gods.  To make their rain stick, they used a piece of bamboo or hollowed cactus and filled it with pebbles or beans, then slowly rocked it back and forth.  It sounded like rain, so why wouldn’t it bring on the rain?

Kids today enjoy creating their own version of the rain sticks and it’s easy to do.  All you need are some dried beans from your garden, the inner tube from a roll of wrapping paper, rubber bands to secure material or paper around the ends for a seal, and the decorating materials you adore the most.  As to beans, we used about 1/4 cup of dried black beans.  For my daughter, that would be glitter–and lots of it.  She is a bright and cheery girl!

Next she began to summon the Rain Gods by gently turning the tube from end to end!  Caution:  this is a gentle movement.  I’ve seen some kids shake these sticks like banshees but don’t do it–you might scare the Rain Gods!

You can also make maracas with your dried beans.  For these, you’ll need empty gourds or paper plates.  Living in Florida, we don’t grow a lot of gourds so we used paper plates.  Once again, my daughter filled them with beans (about 24 beans or so), glued them together and painted each side with glitter, added some cool spirals along the edges–and voila–she had a matching set of maracas!

Maracas were created as a musical instrument, usually played in pairs. The original maracas were made from clay 1500 years ago by Early Colombians.  While we cannot speak to the music of the past, our kid version makes quite a bit of sound!  The rhythm is up to you.

One Comment

  1. ryanv
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 12:39:32

    I just love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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