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Stilts

Materials:

  • 2 cans (tuna cans make short stilts, coffee cans make tall stilts)
  • Sturdy twine or rope

Procedure:

  1. Using a bottle or can opener, make a triangular hole on each side of the can on the side, near the unopened end.
  2. String sturdy twine or thin rope through the holes and tie the ends in a knot. The rope must be long enough for the child to hold it, while standing up straight on the cans.
  3. Make two, one for each foot. (I know this sounds obvious. The one-legged stilt is only for the very adventurous.)
  4. I usually put the plastic top on the opened end of the can, to protect the floor or rug.

How to use them:

  • Help the children place the cans with the metal end up, open end on the floor.
  • Have them hold onto the ends of the ropes. Then, show them how to place one foot in the middle of the metal end of one of the two cans. If they step near a side, the can will tip, which could cause an injury or at a minimum, an embarrassing moment. Stepping in the middle of the can’s end is essential.
  • Have them step onto one can and balance. Then, they are to step over to the other can. Attempting to mount both at the same time is only for the extremely agile-or foolhardy.
  • Help them hold onto the two ropes, one rope in each hand.
  • In order to walk, they must pull up with the rope as they lift that foot. If they step without pulling on the rope, their foot will come off of the can, and they will fall. The hands pull as they step, keeping the can on the foot.

Safety Note:

As the children are learning how to keep their feet in the middle of the cans and how to pull with the rope at the same time as they step, an adult needs to hold them around their ribcages. This way, if they forget one of the steps, you can keep them from falling. Keep reminding them to keep their feet in the center of the can and to pull up on the rope as they step. One way to help is to have your hands over theirs, helping them pull up with each step, continually checking the placement of their feet.