{Guest Post: I-Spy Animal Rain Stick}

I know I usually do a 'Happy Monday' post about something that makes me happy. This week's is a little different. What I'm really happy about today is my first guest post by my friend Nathalie! (cheer!)

Nathalie is incredibly talented and spends her 'free' time making loads of amazing toys for her cute almost-two-year-old daughter (ask her about the play kitchen she's working on....or the felted food!). I've been begging her to write about some of her projects, so here is the first one she is sharing with us.

This is based on another super creative idea from The Imagination Tree (LOVE that blog!). After reading the link I posted on the Mama Pea Pod facebook page, Nathalie decided to give the DIY rain stick a try, and it's superb! She had to make a few adjustments along the way, and she wrote about her (mis)adventures in making it for all you lovely Mama Pea Pod readers. (I'm definitely going to be trying to make one of these - I love them!) Now, take it away, Nathalie!

My good friend Mama Pea Pod has been inspiring me since the very first post! I have so many plans now for my 2 year old and me, that I need to learn how to organize our time better. I have also discovered that I am a little perfectionistic… and that I’m trying to impose that trait/flaw??? on my daughter’s activities, instead of letting her be creative and learn by herself that her ways of achieving goals are good, even if they are different from mine. This crafts time together will be a learning time for me too!

After a few weeks of work, here is our own “Rain/ Find the Animal stick”.

I followed The Imagination Tree's instructions, but trial and error were the best helpers.

First I found a hard cardboard cylinder. It has to be hard in order to hold nails that will be hammered through. The length and width may vary, I just made sure E (my toddler) was able to handle it easily.

I also used many, many nails, I think over 90… all of which were a little too long and stuck out slightly on the other side of the cylinder (the ideal length is for them to just touch the other inner side of the cylinder).

This is where my dear sister, who is very straight forward and does not skimp on words when you’ve made a mistake, called my attention to:

a) why not use appropriate sized nails and avoid an extra step…(of which I’ll tell you about later), and

b) if the nails were too long, why didn’t you put them in with a slight angle? (to help the flow of the “rain”…)

Anyways, the harm was already done and I just wanted to move on. So, the nails were hammered in following a double spiral pattern with about  1 cm between nails. This distance should vary depending on the size of what you’ll use as “rain”.

Next, E helped me gather some small rocks from the park (very much like the ones used to cover soil in plant pots, small and white) and we put them through the cylinder to test their size. They were small enough to go through the stick slowly and make a nice sound, and not too big to get stuck between the nails. We also tried dried beans and corn kernels, but I had in my head the idea that rocks would last longer and not go bad… E helped me wash and dry them (not that it is needed, she just loves water and I thought it was a good, extra activity to get out of this).

After filling the stick with the correct amount of rocks (play with it until you find the sound you like), I sealed the sides using some cardboard cut to shape and a hot glue gun.

And then, the extra step for me… since the heads and tips of the nails were too long and stuck out, I decided to cover the whole cylinder with paper mache to hide them and avoid future emergencies like cuts and scrapes… (This extra step cost me a few more days, since I had to let the layers of paper dry . Next rain stick I make, I’ll certainly make it easier!)

To finish, I decided to use some very cute animal stickers that I had bought for E a while ago and thought too pretty to waste on daily drawing paper. So we painted the stick with white acrylic paint, E placed the stickers all over and I brushed it with a layer or two of slightly diluted white glue to hold the stickers down and to give it a shiny finish. 

Now we have a pretty rain stick and animal finder!

Thanks so much, Nathalie, this looks fantastic! 


Also, see another way to make a rainstick here!

Check out the link below for more great craft ideas!

Texas Monkey