I never used a ham can to make toys, but growing up on a small farm in central Minnesota meant the best toys came from discarded stuff and my imagination. I loved Star Trek and wanted to play with anything like a phaser, a tricorder, or communicator, but with both of my parents working outside jobs to support our dairy farm, money was usually short. So I headed to our dump, collected various bits of wiring, casings, old electronics, and used those things. Duct tape is easy to rework into "screens" and buttons. A file, needle-nosed pliers, and lots of imagination allows one to create new toys. Discarded plastic factory rejects from my mom's workplace were wonderful supplies: battery caps, funnels, widgets, even the plastic from the channels between the parts could be used.
Looking back on it, I'm actually pretty glad I didn't get the "real" toys I first wanted.