We toss out the raw materials for great rainy day projects every day. Try saving up a few empty food cans and have fun with the kids the next time they say, "I'm bored!"
Note: Before you turn the kids loose with empty cans, check the rims to be sure no sharp edges were left behind by the can opener. Usually there will be at least one sharp area where the cut began and ended. File or bend down any sharp edges with pliers, rinse, dry and store the cans away until needed.
1) Turn two empty cans into a "telephone". Punch a small hole in the center of the bottom of each can and pass a long piece of string through the holes. Knot the string so it can't pull out, stretch the string and talk away.
2) Sketch or trace a design onto the side of a can, then using a hammer and a small nail, punch holes along the pattern lines. Place a candle inside and you have a "magic lantern!"
3) Try tapping cans with a stick (a pencil works) to see how they sound. Try making a "drum set" using different sized cans for different tones. Put on some drumming music and play along.
4) Take two cans the same size, punch holes through the opposite sides near the bottoms. Pass a strong cord through the holes long enough to make a loop that can be grasped with the hands while standing on the cans. Step up on the inverted cans, hold the cord so the cans move with your feet, and walk. You've just made a set of "clomper-stompers!"
5) Short, wide cans, such as tuna cans, make perfect "bakeware" for mud pies and other "pretend" dishes.
6) A can with a replaceable lid makes a good rattle for keeping rhythm when the drum circle is in session: Add a few small stones or dryed beans and tape the top on to make sure it doesn't pop open while playing.
7) Glue wrapping paper or fabric to the outside of a small can to make a pencil holder, or a larger can to use for storing bigger objects.
8) Bake bread or cakes in cans to make little fun-size loaves.
9) Stretch a piece of rubber from an old inner tube across the open end of a coffee can and tie securely to make a tom-tom. (Paint or wrap beforehand for a prettier drum.)
10) "Can" you think of more fun ideas? Write me!