do it yourself: papa corn robot

This Father’s Day, treat Dad to a unique and made-from-scratch tin can robot container filled with homemade chocolate-drizzled popcorn! Assemble your robot using found objects and your own creative design choices. Then fill it up with popcorn dressed in chocolate and other tasty extras! This Papa Corn Robot project is inspired by a past art activity taught by one of our Teaching Artists.

guidelines + materials

AGE: 4+ (with grownup support)

TIME FRAME: 60 min


For Robot Container:

  • Aluminum/Tin can
  • Mix of random hardware materials (e.g. screws, bolts, springs, paper clips, bottle caps, etc.)
  • Low Temp Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • Colored Masking Tape or Electrical Tape
  • Permanent Marker (if available)

For Dressed Popcorn Filler:

  • 2 Cups Popped Popcorn
  • Freezer Ziploc Bag
  • Wooden or Plastic Spoon
  • Sheet of Parchment or Wax Paper
  • Cookie Sheet or Tray
  • 1 Cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Microwave Safe Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Scissors
  • Colored Rubber Band, Twist Tie or String

Tin Can Robot Directions

1. Clean out your aluminum/tin can with soap and water. Then fully remove the top lid from the can. Using masking tape or electrical tape, tape over the top rim to cover all possible sharp edges and to give your robot a pop of color.

2. Collect your robot parts. Next, use the can to hold potential parts as you go on a parts hunt around the home. Look for metal and interesting shaped items, and grab objects that are no longer in use and that might make for a fun robot feature (e.g. a spring or colored paper clip). Once complete, turn on your hot glue gun to warm it up!

3. Create your robot. Making your robot is as easy as dreaming up its parts and gluing them on. It is recommended that children under 10 years old work with a grown up to assemble the robot and to use the glue gun. Add eyes, nose, a mouth (or two!) and any other parts that seem important for your robot. Once done, set it aside and gather your supplies for making the popcorn filler!

Popcorn Filler Directions

1. Make and ready your popcorn. Make your popcorn (microwave or fresh) and spread out 2 cups onto the top of a piece of parchment/wax paper laid out flat on a cookie sheet or tray. If interested, consider adding other delicious ingredients to your popcorn before adding the chocolate on top, such as nuts, yogurt raisins, pretzels, banana chips and more!

2. Melt the chocolate. Place one cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and heat the chocolate for one minute. Pull the chocolate out of the microwave and stir with a plastic or wooden spoon, then keep heating and stirring the chocolate for 15 seconds at a time until the chocolate is fully melted and thin enough to easily transfer into a freezer bag. Use the spatula to fill the freezer bag with the melted chocolate.

3. Drizzle the chocolate. Using the freezer bag with the newly melted chocolate in it, push all of the chocolate to one corner. Then gently cut a small tip off the bottom corner of the bag and slowly squeeze the bag while drizzling the popcorn with chocolate lines in all directions. Place the tray of chocolate-covered popcorn into the freezer or refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

4. Fill your robot container. Once fully chilled, remove the chocolate-covered popcorn from the refrigerator/freezer. Using clean or covered hands, grab several handfuls and place them into a freezer or sandwich bag set inside the tin can robot. Fill the bag with the popcorn treat, then seal up the bag with a colored rubber band, twist tie or string.

Note: If popcorn isn’t your dad’s favorite treat, consider what else you might put in the robot instead – fill it with nuts, pretzels or maybe turn it into a fun planter!

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