Let your students make rainsticks for your VBS program this summer. Collect an empty paper towel tube for each child. (You may want to collect empty wrapping paper tubes for your older kids.) Also provide markers, stickers, paint, paintbrushes, paint shirts, construction paper, glue, water, paper towels, wet wipes, wide clear tape, scissors, dried beans (or split peas or rice or popcorn kernels) and foil. Print your Bible memory verse on a sticker for each child.
Cover the work area with newspapers. Have each child put on a paint shirt. (Old VBS T-shirts or small, short-sleeved adult shirts work well for paint shirts.) Let each child paint a cardboard tube the first day. Encourage them to be creative with stripes, dots, squiggles, and a variety of colors. Make sure names are on the tubes. If you don't have time to let the children paint the tubes, have them cover the tubes with construction paper (after filling the tubes as described below) and decorate the tubes with markers and stickers so the rainsticks can be finished in one day.
Then give each child a 12 x 7-inch piece of foil (much longer if you're using wrapping paper tubes) to crumple loosely into a snake shape slightly shorter than the tube. Let the child place the foil snake inside the tube and tape one end of the foil to the tube to hold it in place. Give the child two 5-inch squares of construction paper. Let him use one paper to cover one end of the tube and tape it securely in place with an 8-inch strip of wide clear tape. Make sure there are no openings before the child drops in the beans. Give the child about an eighth of a cup of dried beans (or split peas or rice or popcorn kernels) to put into the tube. (Use 1/4 cup for the longer tubes.) Have him use the other paper to cover the open end of the tube and tape it securely in place with an 8-inch strip of wide clear tape. Now help the child cover the tube with construction paper, if it wasn't painted earlier.
Give each child a Bible verse sticker to add to the rainstick. Make sure names are on the rainsticks. Show the child how to hold the rainstick with the ends facing the ceiling and the floor and turn it slowly so the opposite end is facing up to hear the rain sound. Let the children experiment with their sticks. Let the children use their rainsticks to provide sound effects during your skit time. They also make good attention-getters when you need a signal for everyone to be quiet and listen.