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About this Workshop


In this Workshop, Learners will make a traditional South American instrument called a “Palo de Lluvia,” or Rainstick.  

The Palo de Lluvia is a Pre-Hispanic musical instrument that is still used today by indigenous cultures in Central and South America. In Chile, the Diaguita people who live close to the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, use dried cactus branches to make this instrument. Traditionally, it was used in ceremonies to beg for rain from the natural spirits in times of drought.

It is used throughout the year today in music festivals in Northern Chile, the neighboring countries of Bolivia and Peru and, more recently, throughout the world.  It is also still used in the traditional Andean ceremony of Inti Raymi (Sun Festival) every June, when the Winter Solstice occurs and indigenous people celebrate the return of the Sun.

The Palo de Lluvia is a percussion instrument, and its sound resembles falling rain. This instrument is commonly used by groups that play music from the Andes Mountains. I have owned a Palo de Lluvia for so many years, and love it because its sound is so calming. This instrument is one of my favorites, and it has accompanied me throughout the different stages of my life.

Please note: This Workshop is recommended for children 10+  Younger Learners may participate with adult supervision and assistance, as this Workshop requires the use of a push pin and cutting toothpicks using a nail clipper.

What You'll Need

GLOkit What's a GLOkit?


Palo de Lluvia from Chile GLOkit

This GLOkit contains crepe paper, natural Chilean yarn in assorted colors, and a package of 100 toothpicks.

GLOkit Included
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Additional Supplies

 Learners will also need:

  • 4 toilet paper rolls
  • Scissors
  • A nail clipper (to cut toothpicks)
  • Masking tape and Scotch tape
  • Any dark colored marker
  • Glue stick
  • 2 or more types of grains: ie rice, lentils, very fine noodles, or small seeds. 
  • A small cup



Technical Requirements

You will need a device (computer or tablet) that is equipped with a camera, microphone, and speakers. For more information, please check out our Technical Requirements page.

Meet the Instructor

instructor headshot

Marcela RodriguezView Profile

As a child, I lived in southern Chile in lighthouses, as my dad was a lighthouse keeper.  At school I loved art classes, and my teachers would always say that I was a daydreamer.  While pursuing a construction degree in college, I took drawing lessons at the School of Fine Arts in Vina del Mar.  In Santiago I discovered street theater, and started working as a performance artist with TEUCO and Sociedad Anonima, two street theater troupes.  We did our own mask and prop designing.  I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1992, where I got an MFA in painting and drawing. I currently live and work in Concon, Chile. I have two amazing kids. Some people know me as Amaru, as I sign my artwork under that pseudonym. 

I started crafting when I was very young.  I loved creating things from scratch, like sewing clothes for my doll named Peta. With my sisters and friends, I would make dishes, pots and cups out of clay and dry them in the sun. We made wings out of old cardboard, and then tried to fly them by jumping off a tall ramp and falling onto a big pile of hay. Once I made myself a pair of shoes out of an old bicycle tire, and I swore I could run faster! LOLl!  As a teenager, I used some of my dad’s wood and some of my mom's yarn to make lamps for my family. While in college, I would make and sell ornamental scrolls with handwritten quotes about freedom, or with song verses by the Chilean musicians Violeta Parra and Victor Jara.

On Chile’s Independence Day, September 18th,  there is a tradition of making and flying kites that I very much enjoyed as a child. My dad used to make huge handmade kites, and we loved to help him. We used to live in the hilly city of Valparaiso, and we loved flying these kites in the strong September winds along with all the neighborhood's kids. We also made windmills out of colored papers for the same occasion. 

I believe that sharing art and crafts brings us closer to each other. It allows us to see that even though we might live in different parts of the planet, creativity connects us all. The crafts I teach have a strong connection with nature, and with a spiritual world connected to the natural world. I feel that we need to reconnect with nature, which is the wisest and most generous teacher we all share.

I really like recycling and making things out of discarded objects. I make plant pots out of discarded water bottles or milk cartons. A few years ago I made a recycling workshop for children and we made kaleidoscopes.  I also love drawing with all kinds of materials.

I love living in Chile, because I enjoy being by the sea. I love to swim in the Pacific Ocean, close to my home, even during the winter months. I also enjoy the winter celebration in the nearby fishing cove where the Chinos come to dance and play their flutes and I get to witness how old, Prehispanic traditions, are still alive today. 

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Palo de Lluvia from Chile