Our local food pantry, Harvesters, does a yearly competition where businesses build structures out of cans. Then when the competition is over, all the cans are donated to Harvesters to feed those in need. The designs are on display at the mall for about a month.
Did you guess? It was a giraffe, rainbow, and castle. Constructing with cans was free, fun, and (bonus!) I had an organized pantry when we were all done. It would be a great activity for the kids while you put away groceries. And of course there is all sorts of learning that can be done with cans…
(Common Core Standards appear in italics. They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels. These standards are used in almost every school in the country. Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)
- Colors- Talk about the different colors on the cans, then divide them into groups or make a rainbow.
- Size- Compare sizes of cans. Find all the cans that are the same size. What happens when you stack a large can on a small one?
- Counting– How many cans in all? Count how many you can stack in a tower.
- Addition and Subtraction– How many bean cans plus tuna cans do we have? (first grade- Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction)
- Geometry- Talk about 2D vs 3D. Use the word cylinder. Point out the circles on top and bottom of a cylinder. (kindergarten- Identify shapes as two-dimensional or three-dimensional)
- Measurement– Measure things around the room with cans. How many cans long is the couch? (first grade- Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object end to end)
- Classification- Sort the cans into groups based on color, size, or type of food. (kindergarten- Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count)
- Reading– Beginning readers might be able to read some of the labels using the picture as a clue. If they know it is a can of corn, see if they can pick out the word “corn” on the can.
- Letters- Try to make letters or even words out of the cans.
- Creative building– And the most fun, building!