This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen

by Stefani on 15-October-2007

We had a list of things to do today.

Grocery Store
Reading Practice
Math Lessons
AWANA practice
Cleaning out a corner of the school room for a new woodworking area (more on that another day)
Cleaning out the boys rooms
Changing sheets… you get the idea.

We got as far as going to the gym (note that this is only the second thing on the list), before the plan went out the window.

The boys did a good deed while they were in the childcare center. They helped one of the caregivers clean up after a particularly messy project, and were each rewarded with two nice, thick, industrial paper towel tubes. It might have been gold, for all the excitement!

There was much debate about what to do with them, but since we are about to embark on a study of Native Americans, I thought of rain sticks. They actually originated with Chilean Indians, but still…

First, tape two tubes, end to end, to make one nice, long stick.

Then, push in nails, every inch or so, following the spiraled seam.

Making a Rain Stick

Tube O' Nails

Then, you tape off one end and add in some rice, beans, pebbles or whatever you have on hand that is small, and hard and likely to make a good racket.

Beans and Rice

We used rice and pinto beans. Incidentally, rice makes a nice, gentle shower sort of sound. Pinto beans sound like that middle-of-the-night downpour type rain.

Then, of course, you’ll want to tape up the other end. We covered our sticks with some brown wrapping paper, using some spray adhesive, and then set to work decorating our rainsticks with a little pictography.


We used the Draw Write Now book on Native Americans as a starting point, and then branched off into our own creations.

Native Drawing

While the boys drew, I read to them about Native American writing, about Chile, and about the history of the rain stick. Later we found Chile on the map.

The sticks were a BIG BIG hit! We’ve already been talking about more heavy duty versions, and how we might paper mache or decoupage our next models, then give them as Christmas gifts to some special kids on our list.

You know, isn’t so much of parenthood like that? It’s not at all the way I envisioned it, but rich and wonderful all the same, just like our day.

I hope your wanderings and departures from your plans bring you as much fun and learning today!

Sarah Jackson October 15, 2007 at 8:03 pm

Very fun! We have a beautiful rainstick made of wood, but it is such a good idea to make your own. I just love them.

And so true about the nature of parenthood – it’s the side paths that are the most rewarding.

mountain mama October 15, 2007 at 8:12 pm

Well, I had a day that didn’t go as planned either, and yours sounded like much more fun that mine was!! Mine sorta went down the drain after a crazy morning but then it ended up rather nice.

That’s a great idea for a homemade rainstick!! I think I’ll file that away for a future rainy day project! Thanks!

molly October 15, 2007 at 8:54 pm

I am all for scrapping plans to do fun projects. The best learning opportunities are unplanned, as are the best memories. It’s a whole new take on unplanned parenthood.

Rose October 15, 2007 at 9:25 pm

I love that last comment from Molly. “Unplanned parenthood!” Great photos and I just love to hear from other mamas living and loving life with their children. Your post blessed me.

Krista October 15, 2007 at 10:05 pm

I wanna live at your house. You guys are so creative and fun! Love the rain stick project, you’ve inspired me…
You mentioned AWANA here — Aden is a Trek leader this year which I think is kinda cool. He really enjoys the work with the kids and the bible stuff. More power to him, I say!
It’s a great program, no?
Oh and I just noticed you’ve also got “Too Many Pumpkins” on your sidebar… Kale picked that one off the library shelves a few weeks ago and I LOVE it! I had to renew it today as I can’t bring myself to take it back yet 🙂 Sweet story, love the ending and the illustrations.
Have a good night!

Kelly October 15, 2007 at 11:56 pm

what a very cool idea. i’ve saved this for my “when he is bigger” folder! -kb

Eren October 16, 2007 at 2:45 am

Oh man, those look fun. And hey throwing the schedule out the window for a little education is not a bad thing in my book. Its called a flexible mama who sees a learning opportunity when she sees it. And I know something else I need to stick in your box now.

Tracy October 16, 2007 at 5:08 am

Wow, what a creative project!

Lisa Clarke October 16, 2007 at 10:01 am

Great lesson for the boys, and great lesson for Mom, too – one I’m continually re-learning: to-do lists can wait when an opportunity for memory-making (and learning!) presents itself.

lina October 16, 2007 at 10:47 am

I find that the days where nothing goes to plan are the ones that are the most fun with the children…that’s why I never seem to get anything done!

cloth.paper.string October 16, 2007 at 12:18 pm

when i lived in the southwest i pined for rain. i’d get so downtrodden at the sight of clouds releasing rains that would be evaporate before they reached the ground. a dear friend gave me a rainstick as a gift and i was so so soothed by its sound.

i love that you’re making these with your boys and thinking about giving them as gifts. i can attest there’s no better gift in the land of little rain.

erin October 16, 2007 at 12:41 pm

these are great!

my kids received some handmade rain sticks as gifts…they kids who made them covered the outside with colored duct tape! they were bright and cheery and easy to make.

Lori October 16, 2007 at 1:13 pm

see, if you could just find those long pieces of bamboo, you could saw those up to make awesome heavy-duty rainsticks! ;o)

sounds like you had a lovely serendipitous day.


kristin October 16, 2007 at 6:40 pm

a few thoughts:

who cares about the grocery…you could always eat leftover beans and rice…there were words in the book you used-call that reading practice…you did plenty of math as you figured out where to put your nails and poured those tiny things in…hee hee hee.

way to go.

and thank you for the rainstick idea…eager for tomorrow!

autumn October 16, 2007 at 7:35 pm

I love the rainstick creation! It’s always great to run across fun, simple activities like this to do with my son…thanks for the idea!

michelle October 17, 2007 at 3:45 am

I just love finding great projects to try on blogs. This one is exactly the type that would appeal to BOTH of my children.

I’m resisting the desire to go pull all the paper towels off of several rolls now. (I think my husband might look at me oddly if he came downstairs at 6:44 am and instead of sipping my tea and surfing the net like usual I was surrounded by great clouds of paper towels)

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: