Can You Do the CAN CAN?
CAN CAN Song
After a holiday party, there might be an excess of empty aluminum cans.
It’s just the right material for a fun game. So, before you bundle the cans up and take them to a recycling center, play the game, “Can you do the CanCan”?
Start off with everyone sitting in a circle and each person has 2-3 cans. One person puts one of their cans on the floor in the middle of the circle and then, in turn and one by one, each player adds their can to an ever-growing tower of cans while everyone sings the fast paced CanCan song.
The joy and pace of the song moves the game along as the tower continues to grow until, unpredictably but inevitably, it crashes with a wonderful clatter.
The simplicity of the game means that children of very different skill levels can play but it doesn’t mean that there is not a lot of learning going on. Waiting for one’s turn reinforces impulse control, adding a can encourages eye-hand coordination and building the tallest tower together elicits a sense of social cooperation.
You probably heard the CanCan song before even though it once went with the scandalous “French Cancan” dance at the French Moulin Rouge in the 1920’s.
The official tune goes like this:
Oh can you do the Can-Can?
If you can then I can
I can Can-Can if you can-Can
Can, can you Can-Can
Oh we can do the Can-Can
Yes we can we Can-Can
We can Can-Can
Yes we can-Can-Can
Also, if you don’t know the tune, you can hear the chorus at this site.
It’s fun and challenging to sing the original version, but I modify the words to make it shorter and easier
Can you do the can-can
Can you do the can-can-can-can-can
(repeat, repeat, repeat)
You can start by singing the words slowly until everyone gets the idea of turn taking and then little-by-little speed up the tempo. Then watch as excitement and the tower build until that moment comes and they all fall down. And when it does, it’s a chance do it all again!
Barbara Sher M.A.,O.T.R, an occupational therapist and author of nine books on childrens games. Titles include EARLY INTERVENTION GAMES SPIRIT GAMES and EXTRAORDINARY PLAY WITH ORDINARY THINGS.
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2014 Magazine