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Considering the themes of climate change, rain cycles, plant growth and seasons in Elizabeth Mary Cummings’ and Cheri Hughes’ picture book, Rain Shaker, here are a couple of activities to encourage positive empowerment and exploration in caring for the environment. 

*Rain Shaker is written by Elizabeth Mary Cummings, illustrated by Cheri Hughes, published by Big Sky Publishing, October 2020.


Key Curriculum Areas: Foundation – Year 2


Responding to literature: Share feelings and thoughts about the events and characters in texts (ACELT1783)

Examining literature: Discuss features of plot, character and setting in different types of literature and explore some features of characters in different texts (ACELT1584)

Interpreting, analysing, evaluatingUse comprehension strategies to understand and discuss texts listened to, viewed or read independently (ACELY1650)

Humanities and Social Sciences

Evaluating and reflecting: Reflect on learning to propose how to care for places and sites that are important or significant (ACHASSI026)


Biological sciences: Living things have basic needs, including food and water (ACSSU002)

Earth and space sciences: Observable changes occur in the sky and landscape (ACSSU019)

Use and influence of science: People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things (ACSHE035)

The Arts

Dance: Present dance that communicates ideas to an audience, including dance used by cultural groups in the community (ACADAM003)

Respond to dance and consider where and why people dance, starting with dances from Australia including dances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACADAR004)

Music: Develop aural skills by exploring and imitating sounds, pitch and rhythm patterns using voice, movement and body percussion (ACAMUM080)

Visual Art: Use and experiment with different materials, techniques, technologies and processes to make artworks (ACAVAM107)

Reference: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/


Age Range 

4 – 8 years



Look at the cover of ‘Rain Shaker’. What do you see? What do you think this story might be about? How do you know?

How do you think the girl is feeling? Why?

Have you heard of a rain shaker, rain stick or rain dance? What is their purpose?

What does the word ‘drought’ mean? Why would drought be hard for people living on a farm like Erin and her family? What did you notice about the animals and plants that live there? What can you find out about rain cycles?

What do you know about sunflowers? What do you know about growing plants? What are the main things that are needed?

What are all the reasons Erin wanted rain to fall on her farm? How did the family feel when it finally rained?

What is ‘climate change’? What might happen to other kinds of land and seas that experience climate change and global warming?

What can we all do to help look after our environment? Why is this important?


Rain Shaker or Rain Stick Craft

Objective: To discuss the purpose of the rain shaker, and to explore the arts in dance and movement, music and craft.

Background information: It is believed rain sticks were used by Indigenous farming tribes in arid climates in the hope of rainfall for their crops.


Cardboard tube

Coloured paper

Sticky tape

Rice (or dried beans or pebbles)


Optional craft items, such as washi tape for decoration



  1. Cover and stick your cardboard tube with coloured paper.
  2. Decorate with craft items, such as washi tape.

3. Fill with rice (or other contents) and close the ends tightly.

4. Shake! Create a dance or a musical tune while you shake your rain shaker!


Plant Growing

Objective: To plant seeds and observe the growth and changes over time. Discuss the positive effects of growing plants for the environment.

Choose your own seeds or learn and follow the instructions on growing sunflower seeds from the book, Rain Shaker.

#rainshaker #craft #literacy #climatechange #family #hope #dreams

Follow Elizabeth Cummings at these links:

Elizabeth Mary Cummings: https://elizabethmarycummings.com/

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Rain Shaker is available to purchase at Big Sky Publishing| Booktopia.

Heavens Above! It’s the Rain Shaker #BookGiveaway!

Click here to go in the running to WIN a copy of the delightful picture book, Rain Shaker!

Let’s shake things up; Elizabeth Mary Cummings and her delightful picture book, Rain Shaker, will be appearing at the following media sources…


Organised by Books On Tour PR & Marketing. Email: info.booksontour@gmail.com

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