Rainstick and Maracas Craft
Now here’s a fun and creative craft kids of all ages will enjoy! Making a rainstick or maracas using dried beans from the garden is great fun. But did you know the rainstick 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 rainstick, 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 rainsticks and it’s easy to do.
What you’ll need:
1/4 cup dried beans from your garden
Inner cardboard tube from roll of wrapping paper
2 swatches of cloth material
2 rubber bands
Decorating materials: glitter, paint, markers, crayons
Secure one end of your tube with a square swath of material, large enough to cover the end with enough extra material to overlap onto the tube. (See photo) Secure cloth tube “cap” in place with rubber band. Fill the tube with beans. Secure open end of tube the same way you sealed the first opening. At this point, my daughter 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!
Of course, decorate to your heart’s content!
Paper plates can be used or empty gourds. Here in Florida, we have no huge gourd supply so we opted for the plates. Instead of rubber bands, staples are needed to secure the plates around the perimeter. Simply set one plate on a counter and place your beans in the center. Place the other plate over top, upside down, so that your maracas is “rounded” on both sides. Staple the plates together along the edges and–voila–you have yourself a noisy maraca!
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.