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I just finished rainsticks with my 4th graders. I used the medium paper tubes
(from paper towels) and they poked holes with a pushpin, (luckily, no
injuries!!) They then dipped a flat toothpick into glue and inserted them
into the holes. Each kid used about 75 toothpicks!! We used paper-mache' but
only ONE layer so it didn't muffle the sound and get too soggy. Then I mixed
up some ochre-colored paint and let them sponge that on (again to control the
wetness) --with some white paint--- to look like wood, bamboo or cactus. Then
they used yarn for a loop, red clay bead accents, feathers and markers to add
African, Southwestern or South American symbols or designs. Last, I cajoled
the music teacher into using them for a lesson the following week!!