Simple Surprise Play with Cans

A child’s eyes light up when he or she sees something common used in a new way. A common object like a metal can will become a source of fun and exploratory learning. If you start playing simple surprise games with common household objects, your child will begin to look for creative connections in other parts of her daily activities. That is, she’ll learn, by following your lead, to think of multiple uses for one object

***Word of caution: When preparing metal cans for simple play activities, be sure to remove any sharp edges and wash the can thoroughly. You can purchase a safety edge can opener that separates the lid from the can by lifting the lid from the glue without cutting, leaving no sharp edges. If a dishwasher is available, wash and dry the cans in it before using with your child.

Here are a few ideas for simple surprise play with cans:

The classic: A drum
Find cans of a few different sizes that have plastic lids.
Line the cans up and show your child how thumping the plastic lid gives different sounds.
Allow him to hit the lids with a large spoon or toy hammer.
Encourage him to hit the side of the can with the spoon as well.

Stacking and nesting
Find cans of various sizes (three or more) that can fit inside of each other. (Lids are not needed.)
Let your child experiment with the cans.
After a while, show him play patterns that did not occur to him, such as, lining them up in a row from largest to smallest, stacking the cans in a tower, and nesting the cans within each other.
At this time or later, roll out a large amount of play dough and show your little one how to use the cans to make circle cut outs of various sizes.

Can toss
Place a large open can on the floor.
Gather three to five objects that are small enough to fit in the can yet large enough to avoid a chocking hazard. (Beanbags are great and clothespins work too.)
Hand one of the objects to your child and tell him to walk up to the can and drop it in the can. Repeat. Depending on your child’s age, have him take steps back from the can with each new object.

Round picture book
Collect a large can, magazines, school glue, and clear contact paper.
Have your child select pictures of objects that interest him. If your child is a toddler, cut the pictures out for him.
Glue the pictures onto the can in any pleasing pattern.
Once the glue is dry, cover the can and pictures with clear contact paper to make the round picture book more durable.
Ask your child to tell you about each picture as he rolls the can. Encourage him to “read” his round book to others.

As you can see, the suggestions above are just old-fashioned fun. Fun that brings you and your little one closer together and shows your child that one thing can have many enjoyable purposes.

Source: Jean Warren’s Toddler Theme-a-saurus