I immediately flashed back to this list of the 5 Best Toys of All Time. Could it be true? Did I just find the #4 best toy of all time under my desk? I mean, E has played with toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes and even a wrapping paper tube, but this was taking it to a whole new level. How lucky is E?!
But then, I started thinking even more creatively. What about a rain stick? Surprisingly, it wasn't something I had pinned on Pinterest. It was something I had just seen in passing while surfing the interwebs. I actually had to re-search for it and find a site with a good how-to. This one from Mama Scout seemed the most like what I was looking for.
Here's how mine went...
My supplies included the coveted mailing tube, a crap ton of nails (I think I used a total of 80), something to make the noise-- I used beans and also (not pictured) rice, something to pretty it up (mine is fabric wrapped).
First, I hammered. And hammered and hammered. The cardboard mailing tube is perfect for the nail approach (verses some of the other approaches I've seen using tooth picks or skewers) because it's easy to hammer into, but quite sturdy. I made circles around the tube with nails, trying to stagger them as much as possible. I think I used 80 nails, and I could've used another box if I had it.
This certainly does not look like a toddler toy, right? No worries, I took some safety precautions. I wrapped the whole tube in packing tape to keep the nails in place-- and add an extra layer of protection between the nails and E's curious fingers.
Next came the filler. I started with just beans but I needed a softer sound so I added some rice. It's really a trial and error kind of thing. You just need to test it out until you find the sound you like. I admit, I wish I had used more nails because I feel like my fillings fall a little too fast. I was just too dang excited to complete it to run out for another box of nails. It's sort of rain stick-y but it's really more like an oddly shaped maraca. Whatever. It makes noise and that's the #1 feature to an 18 month old.
Then, I wrapped the whole thing in fabric, hot gluing as I went. I used three patterns cut into about 1 inch strips. The hot gluing was far more dangerous for Mama than the nails were. If I was inclined to commit a crime, Saturday would've been the day because I'm pretty sure I burned all my fingerprints off. Whoever allowed me to purchase a hot glue gun should be fired!
Sorry for that tangent but my fingers were hurtin'! I also hot glued the plastic end caps on with the fabric tucked underneath them. And, I added a little extra pretty by adding a few ribbons on each end an in the middle. Mr. S thinks it's a little girly. Maybe it is. Who cares?
Could a very curious, very determined kid tear this apart and gain access to 80 nails and around a cup of choking hazards (beans)? Yeah, probably, but he would need be unusually determined. E's not that curious, or that determined and certainly doesn't have that much patience.
Here it is all prettied up.
E likes it but he doesn't quite understand that he needs to flip it over to make it make the noise again. So he just holds it upright with the beans in the bottom and whines because it's not making noise. So, until he catches on, it really is a homemade toy fail. I mean, you definitely don't want to make toys that cause you and your kids extra frustration. Soon enough though, I know he'll get it and enjoy making all that noise! At least it'll be a peaceful rain-like noise... like meditating in the warm peaceful rain in Hawaii... like the soothing sounds of a baby's white noise machine... riiiiiight!