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Make a Tin Can Telephone

In & Outdoor Free
Craft Projects, Recycled

Activity Overview

Bring back a little bit of nostalgic creative play for your children or grandchildren. Sometimes getting back to basics is all you need for hours of fun. Create a set of tin can telephones for a pair of siblings or friends to play with. Laughter and silliness and pretend play will be ever present in your home and backyard.

A tin can telephone works when the vibrations from your your voice cause vibrations along the length of the string. The sound vibrations travel like waves along the string and when they reach the other end of the string, they hit the second cup and turn back into sound. Try setting them up between two backyard or indoor forts.

Materials Needed

  • 2 recyclable tin cans
  • long length of string
  • hammer
  • nail

How to Make It

  1. Have an adult use a hammer and a nail to poke a small hole just big enough to fit the string through the center of the bottom of each paper cup or tin can.
  2. Draw the end of the string through one of the tin cans and tie a knot in it to anchor it in place. The knot should sit inside the base of the can.
  3. Repeat these steps with the second tin, tying a knot in the string through the base of the second tin.
  4. Hold one paper can up to your mouth and talk loudly into it. Your partner should walk away as far as the string will stretch and keep it tight.
  5. Have a friend or family member hold the other can up to their ear.
  6. If the string is taut, the other person should be able to hear your message through the can.

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