Learn how to make a see-through rainstick–with recycled and natural materials–that make the sound of rain falling with this easy step-by-step DIY sensory bottle tutorial.
This musical rainstick instrument quickly became one of our family’s all-time favorite sensory bottles. Discovery bottles like this see-through rainstick can be used in many ways. The gentle sound of a rainstick sensory bottle can help children focus and learn to self-regulate.
A rainstick is also a great DIY toy for no mess, safe sensory play, and helping children (and adults) calm down and unwind. So here’s an easy musical sensory bottle tutorial that teaches how to make a rainstick. For more information about sensory bottles and their uses, check out Calm Down Sensory Bottles 101.
Related: Nature-Inspired Sensory Bottles
What is a Rainstick?
A rainstick is a musical instrument that makes a sound similar to the gentle pitter-pat of rain falling when tipped from top to bottom. They are commonly made in the shape of a tube and partially filled with small pebbles, beads, beans, or rice.
Rainsticks are often made with small pins or thorns on their inside surface. But this easy rainstick craft is made with sticks instead of thorns or pins to make it easy at home or in the classroom.
Related: Rainy Day Activities
DIY Rainstick Musical Instrument
A see-through rainstick musical sensory bottle like the one my daughter is playing with in the photographs stimulates the auditory and visual sensory systems. Tipping it from top to bottom causes the rice to bounce off the sticks and produce a sound reminiscent of rain falling. And kids love to watch the rice fall and listen to the gentle pitter-patter of rain.
Speaking of the sound of rain, one of our favorite rainy day rain songs is “It’s Raining Outside” by Nancy Kopman. Click on THIS link to see the video or THIS link to purchase and download the song. For more kids’ music ideas, check out kids’ music that won’t drive you nuts! You might also enjoy this list of fun things to do on a rainy day.
Rainstick Craft Supplies
You probably have everything you need to make a see-through rainstick at home and in your backyard. You only need a few sticks, rice, pebbles, beads, and a bottle from your recycle bin!
- Water bottle or mason jar (or look for another bottle from the recycle bin that makes a nice sound for a rain bottle)
- Goo Gone
- Sticks and twigs
- Rice (beads or pebbles will also work)
- Super Glue
Related: Recycled DIY Chalk Paint
How to Make a Rainstick: Step-by-Step Tutorial
To make this rainstick sensory bottle, first, invite the kids to go on a nature hunt for some sticks and twigs.
Next, we like to make sensory bottles on our DIY Outdoor Art Table & Mud Kitchen, but a kitchen counter or dining room table will work just as well.
And when we make sensory bottles, I often add a homeschool lesson to make our creation a fun and educational activity. The rainstick tutorial below shares a few tips about how to do this.
1. Grab a bottle from the recycle bin.
- Peel off the sticker on the bottle and remove any sticky residue with Goo Gone.
Related: Rainbow Rainy day Art
2. Fill the bottle with sticks and twigs.
- Invite your children to fill the water bottle, mason jar, or recycled bottle with small sticks and twigs to exercise their fine motor muscles.
- Show children how to tangle them up and go in different directions rather than sticking them all straight into the bottle. This will create more surface area for the rice to bounce off of to produce the sound of rain.
- If you make these with your children, feel free to add a science lesson about sound and gravity.
3. Add rice to the rainstick craft.
- Invite children to add 5-10 teaspoons of rice to the rainstick musical sensory bottle to practice scooping and transferring. (Or use beads or pebbles in place of rice.)
- Scooping and transferring the rice from a bag or jar into a bottle is a great hand-eye coordination activity for kids.
- And cleaning up the mess is an excellent Waldorf homelife activity (Sweeping the floor and wiping the table is also a fantastic Montessori practical life activity, like squeezing oranges and arranging flowers.)
- Shhh–don’t tell them that they are learning. It will be our little secret! 😉
Related: Coin Sorting Montessori-Inspired Sensorial Activity
4. Place the lid on the rainstick DIY sensory bottle.
- Put the lid on your homemade rainstick and slowly tip your musical sensory bottle instrument from top to bottom to hear the gentle pitter-patter of rain.
Related: DIY Geometric Puzzle Toy for Kids
DIY Rainstick Instrument Tips
Play with your DIY rainstick sensory bottle for a day or two to ensure you like it. You may find that you want more or less rice or more or fewer sticks inside of it.
Once you are happy with how your see-through rainstick looks and sounds, glue it on the lid and hand it over to your kids to play with.
A DIY rainstick calm-down bottle is a fun musical instrument to watch and listen to. They make the gentle sound of pitter-patting rain when tipped slowly from top to bottom.
To learn more about sensory bottles, their uses, how to make them, and troubleshooting tips, check out Calm Down Sensory Bottles 101.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
If You Liked This Rainstick Sensory Botle, You might also like:
- Self-Regulation Strategies for Kids
- Butterfly Sensory Bottle
- DIY Rainbow Loom Band Ringer Game Sensory Bottle
- Sea Shells Sensory Bottle
- Nature-Inspired Sensory Bottles
- Outdoor Activities for Kids
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