This year our pre-school ran a carnival fund-raiser. In Latin American culture, they’re referred to as “Kermesse”. The origins of the word “Kermesse” are quite interesting if you click on the link- I didn’t realize the school and church-fund-raising festivals were so widely referred to by this term until I read the article.
I originally signed up for the face painting booth. Easy-peasy.
But, my best friend is head of the Parents Committee and she knows I blog about crafting so I was involuntarily shifted to the arts and crafts booth.
We had tons of toilet paper and paper towel rolls to use up for crafting so I decided that we could make Aztec Rain Sticks. Here’s the one hanging in our house.
So, I tried one at home before the carnival using a thicker wrapping paper tube that could support the nails safely.
The only problem is, although I could supervise my own kids with such a craft, I couldn’t seriously give a bunch of pre-schoolers and toddlers I didn’t know thin toilet paper rolls pierced with nails to take home.
That seemed inherently unwise. And wrought with potential liability. :)
So, I thought for awhile about how to make a no-nail rain stick.
I haven’t bothered to google or pinterest whether my idea is remotely original because it appears that original ideas are becoming harder and harder to come by.
Someone’s always beating us to the punch and I’m relatively new to the kid-craft world. :)
I tried putting squiggly straws into the rolls thinking the grains would hit the curves. But, the straws were too wide and stretched the toilet paper rolls. Fail.
Then, I thought that pipe cleaners might make good channels that the rice and beans could pass through if we coiled them well enough.
So, here’s what we used.
- Masking Tape
- Duct Tape
- Toilet Paper Rolls
- Pipe Cleaners
- Mixed grains and pasta (rice, popcorn kernels, beans, mini- penne pasta)
- Foam Stickers
Many of the children at the Kermesse spoke Spanish. So, I had to work on my own Spanish.
As I closed up the ends of the toilet paper rolls with duct tape and cleaned up the seams with masking tape, I asked each child to take four pipe cleaners and:
“Haz cuatro serpientes”
Make Four Snakes…
Note: You’ll want to place a square of tape or paper against the sticky part of the masking tape that the grains will come in contact with. Otherwise, your grains will end up all sticking to the inside once it’s shaken.
Then, I told the kids to:
“Pon las serpientes adentro”
Put the snakes inside…
Using a small gravy boat I found for a dollar at a local grocery market, the kids poured the grains carefully into the tubes over the coiled “serpiente” pipe cleaners.
This is great practice for fine motor skills.
Once I closed up the tubes with duct tape and sealed them off with masking tape (again, having placed a small square of tape on the sticky side so that the grains wouldn’t stick once shaken), it was time for the kids to decorate their rain sticks with foam stickers.
They really do sound like rain when you place them upside down and the grains and kernels travel through the sinews of the coiled “serpent” pipe cleaners.
Before each of the booth iterations, I showed the kids the Aztec rain stick we have hanging in our home and I showed the parents the rain stick made with nails. The sounds are definitely more crisp with the nails.
Many of the parents planned to put the nails into their kids’ rainsticks once they got home and could supervise them.
This is a really great activity to do with your kids- especially on a hot day when you want it to rain so you can get out the galoshes and go puddle-stomping with the kids.
My only recommendation if you get suckered into running an arts and crafts booth by your over-achieving best friend who is the President of the Parents Committee, you can save a lot of time by closing up the ends of the paper towel and toilet paper rolls in advance. :)
Let Us Know If You Make Them!
Or If You Have Any Other Nail-Free Rainstick Ideas!