How to Rain
It’s that time of year when rainy day after rainy day can often dampen the
mood of the classroom. Without sunshine and fresh air room to run around,
children can get restless and easily frustrated. Interesting new things to do can
help distract them from that penned-in feeling and perk up their moods.
It’s always great to be able to take charge, even symbolically, of something that’s bothering you. If children are afraid of big dogs, it can help to draw a picture of a big dog and give it a name. When it’s their own dog, it’s not so scary. And when the rain is ruining their day, or if they feel that it is, it can help children feel better to make their own rain. Here’s how my students rain.
We pass around coffee cans (oh, how I love these versatile instruments!) (And I have an endless supply because COFFEE!). I read a story with lots of rain in it. I particularly like using stories with different levels of rain, like “Drip Drop” by Sarah Weeks.
You could also make up a story about a rainy day.
Children love to rain when the story suggests it. For light drops, tap the shiny side of the can very softly with just one or two fingers. Use all the fingers for steady rain, and the fingers of both hands as the rain gets harder. For a real downpour, children can use unsharpened pencils – if they hold the pencils almost vertically and tap sharply and fast, it really makes a torrential sound!
If the story has the rain taper off or stop, as it does in “Drip Drop,” prepare the
children and ask them to show you how they would rain more softly. Getting quieter doesn’t come naturally to all young children (you may have noticed this).
After the story, talk about how the coffee-can “rain” sounded like real rain, and how it sounded different. Ask the children if they can think of different ways to create a rain sound with instruments or with objects around the room. Let them get creative with this, and you’ll learn ways to rain that you never thought of. I can practically guarantee this.
The secret to the fun of this literacy/music/science/creativity STEAM experience is that the children are owning and controlling the rain – it’s no longer something that’s just happening TO them. Coffee-can rain is empowering, exciting, and best of all, fun!