Kids Science Activities: Tin Can Phone

Kids Science Activities: Tin Can Phones

kids science activities

Ages: Preschool and up

We just love a good science project in our household and with a variety of ages, the simpler, the better. As a kid, I have fond memories of doing a lot of science projects with my older brothers, which is where my love of hands-on activities came from. One day, the memory of making tin can phones popped in my mind like one of those fun memory notification from Facebook. We were standing in the dinning room, each holding a tin can with about 6 feet of string in-between our “phones.” I remember being so excited and saying “wow! I can hear you like you’re right here!” It’s the engaging activities that make an impact and learning becomes second nature. Here is what you need to make your very own tin can phones:

kids science activities
kids science activities

Kids Science Activities: Tin Can Phones


  1. String

  2. Two tin cans

  3. hammer

  4. nail

  5. 2 paper clips

  6. scissors


  1. Ready the tin cans. Empty them and make sure there are no sharp edges. If there are, you can use tape to cover them.

  2. Measure out how long of a distance you want to make your phones. With younger children, keep it about about two-three feet. The reason for this is you have to keep the string taunt and straight in order for the sound to travel.

  3. Using a small nail, hammer a hole on one side of each of your cans, for the string.

  4. Place the string inside the hole of each can and tie a paper clip on the string, so it does not slide out.

  5. For an added step, you can have your children paint or decorate the cans with colored tape.

How to use:

  1. As mentioned before, in order for sound to travel, the string has to be taunt and straight. Have each child stand far enough apart so there is no slack in the string. Once they are at a good distance apart, have them take turns listening and talking.

The science behind it:

Sound travels by vibrations. When one person is talking, the vibrations travel from the can, down the string, into the other can to where the ear picks it up. A good way of explaining vibrations is by bouncing a bouncy ball and watching it bounce several times as it gets closer to the ground.


Try this experiment with different types of string and yarn. Try it with the string long and short and tight and lose. Have the children make predictions about how the sound will travel at each different variable.

For other fun simple science activities, check out this parachute air resistance project!

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