Last weekend we got a large tin of Tinker Toys at a yard sale.  The kids really enjoyed talking into the empty can, which gave me the idea that we should make tin can telephones.  Yet another thing I remember doing as a kid.  It’s so fast and easy too.  Just open a can of food. (I really recommend a smooth-edge can opener of some sort, so there are no sharp edges.)  Then use a hammer and nail to poke a hole in the can.  Connect the two cans with some string.  (Tie a knot on the string inside the can.) And done!  I taped on some strips of colored paper to add a little more visual excitement.  They were pretty impressed with how it all worked.  Never too early for a science lesson!

Above is a photo of a smooth-edge can opener. A very brilliant invention.

35 Responses
  1. Kickcan and Conkers

    O gosh, I remember these (and I'm older than you…). Back to the basics, eh – always the best fun!
    Reminds me of a fab '60s Ladybird book I have called "Toys and Games to Make". It's full of things like matchbox doll furniture, box guitars, kaleidoscopes…I'll scan it for you, I think you'll like it.

  2. Golubka

    Can telephones are so fun, very simple yet satisfying! The colour strips really add something to the toy. Great photos of Jack and Tess :)

  3. Joel Henriques

    Thanks everybody, yeah, this was a very fun and fast one.

    Kickcan and Conkers – That book sounds awesome. I'll have to check that out!

  4. Sherry and Donna

    Oh my goodness I remember playing with these as a child. Thanks for the memories!
    Donna :) :)

  5. Hey I read about this on the Babyccino Blog, love your idea of the tin can phones!! We used to connect the whole neighborhood with phones like that, it was great fun :-)) Though, ours weren’t as well “designed” as yours, hehe.

  6. Lara Grieten

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    My name is Lara Grieten, I am the graphic designer for Psyche & Brein, which is a psychological magazine in Belgium.

    Firstly, I want to remark that the website of Made by Joel is absolutely marvellous. Its beautiful and handy creations are each and every one ultimate eye-catchers. Even more, the photografh of the two children who are playing with the can phones in front of a garage (I think) I found so spontaneous, charming and innocent. I loved it from the first time I saw it. I

    Therefor, I want to ask you if you find it possible for me to publish the image in our next copy of Psyche & Brein. I will be more then happy to credit the photo to your website. If you agree on this, is it also possible to send me a high resolution of the image? It concerned both the two children, playing together with the can phones.

    No doubt, your photograph will be an absolute advantage for our magazine.

    Also for this, I will thank you in advance.
    If there are any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Kind regards,

    Lara Grieten
    Graphic Designer
    Eos Psyche&Brein

  7. Arthur

    Hi. I would love to use your immage of the two cans on a website instead of the standard telephone for the contact page.
    Can I please? (will credit your website)

  8. Hey Joel,

    I am about to tour around North America on a solar and pedal powered trike in an effort to make Sustainability Easy. The new site will have a “Call Stephen Now” Functionality and I would like to use the picture of the two kids on the string phone for the image. Is that ok?

    The tour is going to be called the SustainableJoes #RETHINK Tour.

    Thanks for what you do,