Will a Rain Stick Bring California Rains?

California is experiencing the worst drought in history; I feel guilty every time my children take a bath in more than a couple inches of water. In fact, Jasmine and I have begun to carry buckets of water from our second-story bathtub to our garden, feeling how hard it is to move the heavy liquid just 200 feet. We pretend we’re woman and children who walk miles and miles to find water in Africa, talking about how time-consuming it is, how lucky we are to have water, and how important it is to protect the water we have.

So, when inklings of rainclouds appeared on the horizon, the girls and I decided to take matters into our own hands best we could. We made rain sticks to encourage the clouds to drop water in our reservoirs.

Here’s how we did it:


30-40 2″ nails with heads
Large flattened cereal box
Colored tissue
Duct tape
Large piece of paper.

1) Take the flattened cereal box lengthwise. Roll it into a cylinder with about 2″ diameter, leaving an extra inch of cardboard for taping together. (You can also use a pre-made cardboard tube, but this is harder for young kids to punch nails through. You must adjust the nail length to the diameter of the tube.)
2) Don’t tape it together yet, but punch holes throughout the cardboard using a smaller nail than your 2″ nails. I laid my cardboard on a corkboard to do this. You could use a log or a thick layer of newspaper. These holes will make it possible for kids to insert the nails on their own. It’s too hard for them to punch them into a cylinder without pre-existing holes.
3) Roll your cereal box into a cylinder and tape it with duct tape the length of the box.
4) The children can push the nails through the holes–even 18-month-old Chloe enjoyed this.
5) Roll the entire thing tightly in a piece of large paper and tape the paper together.
6) Seal one side of the stick with a flap of cardboard. I pinched it together at the corners like I was wrapping a present and then taped around the entire thing until it was secure.
7) Fill with beans, sand and rock–experiment with your favorite sounds before sealing the other end.
8) Seal the other end as in step 6.
9) Paint glue on sections of the stick and gradually cover it with colored tissue. We used colors and shapes that evoked images of water. For older kids, you could incorporate Native American rain symbols as well, or attach cords with beads and feathers.

Play music and dance!


Evelyn S.

Looks like those rainsticks are working!!!! Good job!!! It's been raining for days with only a day or two of sun in between.

Princess Yasmin Al-saud

I like your 'Rain Stick" idea. I know that in each one of us is a Divine Director, and that this 'Divine Director' can bring good from the innovations we create to bless the Land; and too, can provide a reward onto a 'spirited acheivement?

edward s.
edward s9 years ago

A lovely story, good luck with the rain stick. I suspect that California`s desire for plenty of sun, and plenty of water,will be a hard nut to crack.In England we have great need for a few `sun` sticks!