Paper Towel Roll Aztec “Tlaloc” Rain Sticks!

Laredo is in a drought right now.  I can only water my lawn every other day or we get fined by The City.  We went to the Flash Mob Rain Dance and pranced for rain and it didn’t come.

I even shook the rain stick I bought at a Mexican Artisan store when we lived in El Paso.  This rain stick can hurt someone.  With a little sculpture of the Aztec Rain God, Tlaloc, squatting on it, it is also equipped with a pretty lethal obsidian spear.  His name apparently means “One Who Makes Things Sprout” and the other names he has been called also translate as “One Who Urinates”.   It’s hard for a mom to read about the guy on the rain stick, because he was also kind of a jerk.  (If you want to find out why I say that, click on the link about him above and read about the kind of sacrifice that appeased him.)

Thinking on all this, and wanting to do an indoor activity with the kids, I thought some Rain Sticks might be in order.

The materials we used:

  • Paper Towel Tubes
  • Coffee Filters
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Clear Packing Tape
  • Coffee Beans and Bird Seed (but you can use rice, pasta, cereal, nuts, anything that will make sound when shaked)

Step 1:   Decorate the tubes.  I imagine a crafty person might cut pieces of construction paper to wrap around the brown tube, or maybe even wrapping paper.  She might even use stickers or glitter glue.  We used markers on the natural brown tube.  My kids loved it!

My daughter didn’t realize it, but she drew a little stick figure on hers.  I’m pretty sure it’s Tlaloc, the mythical urinating deity on our Aztec rain stick.

Step 2:  Cut a coffee filter horizontally across so that you have enough to form a cup over one end of the tube.

Step 3:  Use the clear packing tape to wrap it all the way around the tube.  I recommend you also reinforce the bottom of the coffee filter with tape so that it doesn’t break open when the kids shake it.

Step 4:  Add the noisemaking materials.  We used some old whole decaffeinated coffee beans and bird seed.  You can use any grain, cereal or pasta, really.

Step 5:  Cut the remaining filter pieces so that you can secure the other end of the rain stick.  Secure the coffee filter piece to the tube using the tape and reinforce the bottom with tape.

And there they are!  They don’t look like much- but my kids have found a special rain stick storage place by the front door for these things.  They love them.  I’m a big fan of my 4 year old daughter’s “Tlaloc” rendition, and my son is channeling Jackson Pollock‘s ink splatter masterpieces on his.  Yep, mine is the one with the hearts and stars.   I also threw in some original circles and rectangles to mix it up a little.

I may not be a craft master, but that isn’t important.  When I put my camera down after taking the photo below, I joined a three person rainstick parade singing up and down our street:   “Rain! Rain!  Come on Rain!”   We were each proudly shaking our rain sticks.

Making them was a lot of fun.  But shaking them was even better.

The Re-Purposed Aztec “Tlaloc” Rain Stick Parade was the best part!

Now, we’re just waiting for Tlaloc to relieve himself.

C’mon, Man! Go, Already!!!


10 Responses to Paper Towel Roll Aztec “Tlaloc” Rain Sticks!

  1. I LOVED playing with those as a kid. Also? This craftless series is pretty genius. I am the Anti-Craft (will hot glue my fingers together and probably staple something to the furniture), so it’s nice to see that I’m not totally alone! If you want to see my last brush with craft disaster here’s a pic:
    http://torinelson.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/xoxo-i-forgot-about-valentines-day/
    Be careful. I’ve been told this crafty mess is so awful it can cause your eyes to bleed :(

    • I loved your pimp stick box decorations. I’m the same way! I don’t craft with my kids because I’m good at it. But, it always feels good to have spent the time with them. And, they think I’m awesome. hahaha! Thanks for writing in, Tori!

  2. Ooh you’re like me! A craftless crafter! This looks like something even I could manage. (Seriously, that’s saying something-I can’t even draw a straight line!)

  3. Gotta love your adventure stories! I love your mom blog! As a mother of a 4,3,2 and 9 month old GIRLS it’s nice to know how you keep them busy and active no matter what!

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