Friday, 6 January 2012

Old School Toys: DIY Stilts

Before there was Toys R Us and television kids were playing games and having fun. What games did they play? Oh, all manner of inventive things, some of which are still heaps of fun to play with, like Tin Can Stilts. As a kid I would strut around on my stilts thinking I was Ace Frehley, it felt pretty boss.

Early Learning Centre stock plastic kids stilts for the low price of $10. They state on their website:
These toys help children develop coordination, balance, strength and control. These important skills help children understand their bodies, judge distances, understand scale and become aware of the space they and others occupy. They help children gain confidence and enable them to feel the positive benefits of being healthy and active.-ELC

I guess as a kid my mum spent her tenner on Kiss records other things, because she made stilts for me from the recycling bin with two golden circle punch tins, old shoelaces, acryclic paint and silver star stickers made of electrical tape. You can spend your tenner on Kiss Records too- because I remember how she did it.

picture via The Children's Nest

 You will need:

  • 2 large juice cans (The top already opened with a can opener than leaves a finger-safe rim on the tins).
  • Can opener with the piercing triangular end, or a large nail and hammer
  • 2 long pieces of rope or ribbon (each 15cm longer than the height of your child)
  • Scissors
  • High tack tape (such as gaffer or electrical), or paint and brush


  1. Rinse out the cans with soapy water and allow them to air dry.
  2. Use the can opener (or hammer and nail) to punch one hole in each side of the cans, about 1 inch from the still-unopened-end (this is the surface your kid will stand on).  Hint: Create the hole from the outside, so any jagged edges remain inside the tin.
  3. Thread a piece of rope through the outside of the tin, and tie it off in a double knot on the inside of the tin. Be careful of the jagged edges on the inside of the tin.
  4. Thread the other side of the rope (the un-knotted end left dangling outside the tin) through the other hole (again from outside to inside, and tying off inside).
  5. Repeat with the other length of rope and can.
  6. You should have a loop of rope going through each can that is long enough so your child can hold onto the rope as handles.
  7. Use tapes and paint to decorate the tins. Cute ideas include painting shoes, animal toes (like the picture above), Space Ace stars or rainbow stripes.
  8. Strut your stuff!!

If perchance you have cash to burn there are some remarkably adorable stilts available for sale...

Via Betsea

Via Twiggy

After a long day strutting around like a member of Kiss on ridiculously high heels your little one can keep the dream alive by reading Elmer On Stilts by David McKee.

Stars and Strutters,
Sandi D

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