Photo of Governor Martin O'Malley with group of children - Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature

Outdoor Activities for Children

Make a Rainstick, photo courtesy of

“April showers bring May flowers” as the old saying goes. Whether it really does rain more in Spring depends on where you live. But here in Maryland, spring rain is important when plants are beginning to grow after being dormant all winter. Here are the directions for building a rainstick, which will certainly sound like a Spring shower. Listen...

You will need:

  • A cardboard tube from the center of a roll of paper towels
  • Piece of cardboard; cardboard from an empty cereal box is perfect
  • Construction paper
  • Masking tape or clear tape
  • Seeds and/or rice; you can use small dried beans, unpopped popcorn, mixed birdseed, etc.
  • Materials to decorate your rainstick
  • What to do:

  • Cut two circles about 3 to 4 inches across from construction paper. You can trace a bowl or small plate to get the shape right.
  • Put one of the circles over one end of the tube, fold the sides down and tape it to the tube. Be sure it fits tightly.
  • Cut strips of cardboard that are a little bit smaller than the inside of the tube (about 1 inch wide) and fold them back and forth like a fan.
  • Put one strip in the tube; you want it to fall to the bottom. Keep adding folded strips until they reach the top of the tube, but don’t squash them in too tightly.
  • Add about a quarter of a cup of seeds and rice. The greater the variety of seeds you have, the more real your rainstick will sound. Cover the open end with your hand and turn the rainstick upside down to see what it sounds like. You can always add more seeds or dump some out.
  • Once you’ve decided that you like the sound, tape the other paper circle over the open end.
  • Now you can decorate your rainstick. You can glue on strips of construction paper, draw with paints or markers, tie yarn around it – anything you want.
  • Photo courtesy of courtesy of

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    Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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