Have you ever stopped and wondered what you would do without water? In the Western world, we often take access to water for granted. However, it is important to remember that water scarcity is evident worldwide.Take a moment to give thanks for the role water plays in your life and think about ways to respect and conserve this sacred resource. Respect water for the earth and for the human lives that have limited access to this essential life force.
Water demonstrates the connection between humans and nature as it sustains the ecosystem and human lives around the world. Rain is needed for crops and foliage to flourish and nourish our bodies. While the origin of the first rainsticks is unknown, a variety of rainstick forms can be seen throughout cultures around the world.
Creating and dancing with rainsticks became a ceremonial celebration. Indigenous tribes of the Amazon “call the rain” with rainsticks, which got their name because when they are shaken, they mimic the sound of rain falling through trees and foliage.
Traditionally, rainsticks are made out of long hollow tubes of wood or cactus (depending on the environment) and filled with some sort of dried bean or bead. Rainsticks are used by cultures around the world, including, but not limited to, Indigenous Amazon tribes, Aboriginal Australians, Aztecs, Chileans, and Africans (1). Creating rainsticks with youth today is a wonderful way to promote understanding and celebrate the culture and ecosystem of the Amazon (2).
Take the time to educate kids by making a rainstick today!
I always recommend starting by preparing your mind and your materials. Take a moment to look over the activity and its meaning.Take a few moments to let it sit and breathe deeply with kids, and then begin! By organizing yourself first, you make the activity more enjoyable and meaningful for everyone.
- Paper towel or toilet paper tube
- Aluminum foil
- Dried lentils, rice, or popcorn kernels
- Old paper grocery bag or construction paper
- Decoration supplies (I recommend natural elements like leaves and grass!)
1. Trace the end of your paper towel holder onto the construction paper
2. Draw a bigger circle around the first circle and draw four lines connecting the two circles
The second circle should be about twice the size of the first circle.
3. Cut 4 lines from the outer circle to the inner circle
Repeat steps 1-3 (you want to have two circles like this).
4. Tape the circles to one end of your tube
Pro Tip: Make sure you check and make sure that it is taped on well, you’ll thank yourself later!
5. Fold your aluminum foil so that its width is roughly the size of your thumb
6. Roll to foil around your finger and create and aluminum foil snake (slithering noises are encouraged!) Once you’ve had some fun with that, place the foil into the paper towel holder
7. Pour a small handful of rice/ beans, etc. into the tube
8. Tape the second circle onto the other end
Don’t forget to make sure it is on tight!
9. Decorate and celebrate!
Take a moment to recognize the Amazon Rainforest and the human lives that lie beneath the trees. Give thanks to those people and to the rain for its constant life-sustaining support.
(1) “South American/Aboriginal – Rainsticks.” Multicultural and Indigenous Learning Resources, Cultural Diversity, Child Care Learning Resources, Early Learning Tools. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2016.
(2) “Climate Kids NASA’s Eyes on the Earth.” NASA’s Climate Kids. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2016.