Tin Can Stilts: Using Recyclables For Play

Tin Can Stilts, recyclables
Tin Can Stilts

Let’s have some fun with recyclables!

I found the project above in a Wood Crafts book from the 1970s, and fell in love. It’s something I’d love to do with my campers at Figment this summer!

The woodworking is a bit complex for most of us, but I love the idea of making our own stilts with basic household items. Incidentally, I found a pair of really cool wooden stilts made by Beka Stilts, a family business based in Minnesota, at the amazing Terra Toys in here Austin. If you’re not in Austin, you can also find them at a slightly higher price point here. My boys love them.

Baron started out with the stilts on the highest level (four levels total) and quickly lowered it. It’s not so easy! They tell you to start low and raise it as you get better, for a reason. Crazy kids!

Make Your Own Tin Can Stilts

tin Can Stilts, recycables

What you’ll need:

  • Two empty 29 oz. cans
  • An awl
  • A hammer or a drill with metal bit
  • Rope or strong string
  • Scissors

What to do:

This project should be done with a parent or responsible adult.

Make two holes in each of the cans

  • The holes will be directly across from one another and near the closed, flat end of the cans.
  • Turn your first can on its side and hold firm. If you have a vise, you can use it to keep the can in place. I used the point of an awl and tapped it with a hammer. You can also use a drill and if you’re worried about edges on the inside of the can, you can use a file to remove them.
  • Turn the can over and make another hole at the same height, but on the opposite side of the can.
  • Repeat these steps on the second can. The holes should be large enough for you to thread your rope through them.

Cut and thread the rope.

  • Measure the rope from the ground over your kiddo’s shoulder and back down to the floor. Now cut.
  • Thread one end of the rope through the the first can’s left hole and one through its right hole. Now double knot the two end tightly inside the can. You can adjust the height of the rope by adjusting where you make your knot. That said, we found it easier to hold the loops out front than strapping them over your shoulders, but you can experiment and decide what feels right.
  • Now measure, cut and thread the second can in exactly the same way.

What’s Next?

Why not create your own backyard circus? You can add juggling and hula hoops to the act… Do you have any pets that you can train to do tricks? Last year’s Halloween face paint for a clown or two? The possibilities are endless!

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