Crafty Kids: How to Make Recycled Mix-and-Match Magnetic Robots

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Wherever you live, winter lingers. The days are still short, the nights are long, and weekends…well, with the whole family stuck together in the house, they can seem almost endless.

To help you wile away the indoor hours, we asked Asia Citro, founder of the blog Fun at Home with Kids, to share this great February craft that will occupy your kids for hours and hours—if not days and weeks. It’s infinitely tweak-able so as soon as your brood tires of one iteration, you can break the whole thing down and start again. Or set to work building a whole robot army!

What You’ll Need:

Washed and dried empty food cans in different sizes
Metal file
Hammer and nail
Hot glue gun
Small magnets
Pipe cleaners
Googly eyes
Bottle caps
Miscellaneous metal parts, like nuts and bolts

1. Peel the labels off the cans. Carefully check them for any sharp edges and file those down with a metal file.

2. Using the hammer and nail, poke several holes in the bottoms of the cans.

3. Using the hot glue gun, glue small magnets to the googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and any other loose parts that are non-magnetic. (No need to glue magnets to metal bits—they’ll stick automatically!)

4. Set up a robot play station on a flat surface, then watch your child create!

Bear in mind, tiny magnets and loose parts may present a choking hazard for small children and pets, so this toy is not intended for tots who are still mouthing. If your dog gobbles up anything that falls to the floor, consider confining him, away from your work space. Also remember to keep magnets safely out of reach of small children when the toy is not in use.

Excerpted and adapted from 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids Copyright © 2014 by Asia Citro, Med, and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Photography by Asia Citro.