Well, I got my metal shears and a mallet. That was an adventure in itself. I ventured into the dangerous world of big hardware stores and managed to find something that would work. I'm sure I will be fine-tuning and buying more tools from a jewelry source later.
I promptly went home to see if my idea would work. I found a stray soda can and cut it up. On further reflection I'm thinking that the aluminum cans are much too thin and I will have to find something else to cut up. I discovered that canning jar lids--of which I throw away many--are about the right thickness. All they lack is the vibrant colors of soda cans...So the question becomes how to cut the lids into fun shapes and get the vibrant colors I'm looking for?
Yesterday I was playing with the preschoolers. I was kneeling on the floor with the majority of the classroom's magnets piled in my lap. Naturally, they were sliding off. This disturbed the small boy playing with me. I explained to him that my lap was only so big and that the magnets were just going to fall off. He had an answer to this dilemma. I must sit criss-cross applesauce (cross-legged) and then all the magnets would fit in the space in the middle. He was right...I think I had ALL the magnets before we were finished playing. The children were also highly diverted to discover that the magnets would stick to the table legs.