Tin Can Stilts – Classic Childhood Activity

Who remembers clomping around on a pair of tin can stilts when they were a kid? Remember how fun that was? And how about the balance and co-ordination it took?  Getting your hands and feet and ropes and tins to all work together…  What a blast.

I do love a good, old-fashioned childhood classic, and that’s exactly what these coffee can stilts are.  I recently made this set  for the hooligans as an addition to our growing assortment of backyard balancing activities.  The kids love them!  And it didn’t take long at all for the preschoolers to get the hang of walking on them!


homemade tin can stilts


Tin can stilts are super-easy to make!  This project is a great way to upcycle a couple of tins that were destined for the recycle bin, and as long as you’re a coffee-drinker, they won’t cost you a thing to make.

To make a pair of tin can stilts, you’ll need:


coffee tins and rope


  • 2 empty coffee tins,
  • 2 lengths of rope (or skate laces, heavy-duty twine or string etc.)
  • electric drill
  • file or rasp (optional)

Making stilts from a pair of coffee cans:

Remove the labels from your coffee tins.

You can paint your tins like Red Ted Art did, but I kind of liked how shiny and new ours looked, so I left them as is.

Drill 2 holes, opposite each other, about an inch from the bottom of the tin.

If the drill leaves any rough or sharp edges, you can smooth them quickly with a rasp or file.

Thread a length of rope through the holes and knot each end tightly inside the tin.


tin can stilts


And that’s it my friend.  You’re done!

Now take your stilts out into the yard and have your child give them a try.


child walking on tin can stilts


Depending on the age of your kids, it may take a few attempts before they get the hang of things.  It really does require concentration and co-ordination to operate these things.

Once they figure out the mechanics though, they’ll love them!

It only took the 4-year-old a few attempts to master it.  She found success as soon as she kicked off her flip-flops!


preschooler on homemade stilts


It was fun to watch the determination and pride on her face as she made her way down the length of our backyard.

Sure, there were some tippy moments, and she toppled a few times and flopped into the grass, but that didn’t stop her.  She’d hop right back on those stilts and keep on going.


falling off coffee tin stilts


How fun!

And in case you’re wondering… of COURSE I tried them out!  I love ‘em!  What a blast from the past!

If you want to put a different spin on this childhood classic, check out these simple wood block stompers by I Can Teach My Child, and the rad Dinosaur Feet that Lalymom made from baby wipes boxes!


What classic childhood toys and games do you remember from your childhood?



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Happy Hooligans for kids crafts and activities from toddlers to preschoolers

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