How to Make a Can Toss Carnival Game for Kids

Kids are always asking for toys, and sometimes, it seems like the most simple creations can get more attention than the big purchases — we're thinking about you, large appliance box or packing bubble wrap. Why not take advantage of this budget-friendly fact and repurpose canned goods into a playroom game? Gather six cans after cooking a few meals, and then paint them with fun colors and playful designs. Add a ball or a bean bag, and then set up the cans in a pyramid shape. Ta-da! When you're finished, you'll have an adorable take on a classic carnival attraction that didn't break the bank.

(Image: Kelly Smith)

Things You'll Need

  • 6 tin cans
  • Can opener
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Spray paint 
  • All-purpose paint 
  • Fork
  • Straw
  • Popsicle stick
  • Ball or bean bag

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Step 1: Open and Save Six Cans

After you've used canned foods, simply rinse out the cans and set them aside until you have collected 6 total. Since you will be reusing the lids as well, be sure to use a can opener that cuts below the ridge — you need tops that have smooth edges.

(Image: Kelly Smith)

Step 2: Remove the Paper and Glue on the Tops

Most cans have paper labels that are easily removed. Heat up your hot glue gun while you are removing each label. Next, place a ring of hot glue on the inside rim of the can, and then quickly place the lid back onto the can. Press down until the glue is dry and the lid is secure. Repeat for all of your cans.

(Image: Kelly Smith)


  • Do not place glue around the top edge of the rim or on the lid itself. The thickness of the hot glue will stop the lid from fitting back onto the can. Place the glue on the inside of the can, and then press the lid down into the glue, to eliminate the issue.

(Image: Kelly Smith)

Step 3: Decorate the Cans

Start by applying a coat of spray paint (or two, if the first layer is too light). Make sure to cover the entire can, including the top and bottom. Once the spray paint is dry, choose a few corresponding colors to add stylish markings to each can. Dip a plastic fork into some paint and rock it back and forth over the can to create 4 lines. Then, alternate the direction of the lines to create a hatched pattern. You can also use the end of a straw to create little round polka dots, or a Popsicle stick to create dashed lines, to add variety to the cans' designs.

(Image: Kelly Smith)
(Image: Kelly Smith)

Step 4: Set Up and Play

Set up the cans by placing three on the bottom, two cans in the middle and one on the top. Next, stand at least five feet away from the cans before using an object — either a tennis ball, a small rubber ball or a bean bag — to knock them over. Each player gets one toss, and the player who knocks the most cans down wins.

(Image: Kelly Smith)
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