An Open Ended Toy - The Lowly Tin Can

Last year we collected an assortment of tin cans to use in the Toddler room. Large tomato cans, small tomato cans, tuna cans, and medium sized veggie cans.  About 25-30 in all.
I used a tool to squeeze the pokey-out bit at the top and for some cans I applied a little piece of duct tape to ensure that there were no sharp edges.

Easy and Free

We placed them in a wooden box and put them the block/construction area.

Here is list of things we saw the toddlers do with them.

*putting things into them
*putting things onto them
*sticking magnets onto them
*lining them up...biggest to smallest or just randomly
*in the kitchen area...for stirring and pretending 
*in the sensory bin...pouring and scooping
*in the art area...for holding scissors or crayons
*on the light table...for reflecting and for shininess
*on the loose parts table...for all of the above

and for creative art

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