For Parents

For Parents


Upcycle that old oatmeal or coffee canister into a fun and engaging toy for your toddler! Here are a variety of play ideas you can do with a canister, as well as ideas of words to say along with the play. Please see the introductory page here to learn more about the different play levels and which one may be most appropriate for your child. As always, get creative and follow your child’s lead!





Simple Play:

  • Cut a hole in the lid and drop items in. (You dropped it. It’s in.)
  • Open the canister and dump items out. (Lid. It’s off. They came out.)
  • Cut slits in the top and slide popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners or ribbon in and out. (Stick. You pushed it in. We’re pulling the string.)
  • Shake items in the canister. (We’re shaking it.)
  • Put items in and roll the canister back and forth. (It’s rolling!)
  • Turn the canister into a drum. (We’re playing the drum. It’s loud!)

Combination Play:

  • Have several containers and pour items from one canister to the next. (We’re pouring the rice. It’s full. You dumped the animals out. Now, it’s empty.)
  • Make a ramp from the top of the canister with cardboard, then have cars roll up the ramp and into the canister. (Ramp. It went up the ramp. The car is in. It’s in the garage.)

Imaginary Play:

  • Create a silo with the canister and have animals go in and out of the silo. (Cow. The cow is on top. He fell down.)
  • Create an animal out of the canister, like a caterpillar, with a hole in the lid as a mouth. Feed the animal toy food. (The caterpillar is hungry. You’re feeding him a sandwich. He’s eating. The sandwich is yummy.)
  • Make the canister into a toy rocket ship. Have little people or animals climb aboard and blast off. (Rocket. The rocking is flying! It’s up in the air.)
  • Turn the canister into a tower of castle. Have little people climb the rock wall to the window at the top! (The cat is in the window. The girl is climbing. The tower is tall. She climbed to the top! The girl kissed the cat.)
  • Cut off both ends of the canister and turn it into a car wash for cars to go through. (The car is dirty. The car has soap on it. It’s wet. The car is clean!)


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