Pringles Can and Paint Swatch Fine Motor Activity for Toddlers

A pringles can and some paint swatches makes a great fine motor drop box activity for babies and toddlers!

I have a hard time parting with my recyclables.  Before I toss anything into the blue bin, I think seriously about its potential to be upcycled into a craft or an activity for the hooligans.  As a result, I have bags and boxes and cupboards full of cereal boxes, plastic containers, styrofoam produce trays, shampoo bottles and Pringles cans.  You might say I’m a hoarder, but I’m not alone.  It’s common among us folk who work with little peoplepringles can and paint swatches for fine motor activity

Yesterday, on my day off, I was sorting through my craft supplies and I decided to put a couple of Potato chip cans and a handful of paint swatches to good use by turning them into a fine motor activity for my toddlers.

These were so easy to make, and you’ll need only a few basic supplies:

What I used:

pringles can, paint swatches, craft knife, duck tape

For your convenience, I’m including Amazon Associates links in this post:

  • A Pringles (or similar) potato chip can
  • Duck Tape (or scrap-book paper, wallpaper samples, contact paper etc.)
  • craft knife
  • paint chip samples

Making your Pringles can drop box:

You don’t have to cover your potato chip can, especially if it’s like the blue one in the above photo, but the Pringles can was easy to cover, so I used one of my new favourite finds: Duck Tape.  You can see how I used Duck Tape for another project recently when I made our Cardboard Drop Zone.  I love this tape! It comes in a wide variety of patterns and colours, and you can use it for so many things!

  1. I covered my can by cutting long lengths of my tape, and running the strips top to bottom on the can.  You could also use patterned paper to cover your can.
  2. In the lid of the can, with a craft knife,  cut a slit slightly wider than your widest paint swatch.  If you don’t have a cutting mat similar to the one pictured above, make sure to protect the surface that you’re working on.  Your kitchen cutting board is a good alternative.
  3. Snap the lid on the can, and Voila!  How easy was that?pringles can and craft knife


Now you just need some paint chip samples.  You’re probably familiar with these.  You can find them in any Paint and Wallpaper shop, and in the paint section of most hardware stores.Paint swatch samples

For the longest time, I would just pocket a handful every time I saw a display.  A lot of others do the same, but I always felt a little funny about it.  I know the whole purpose of the paint swatch is for people to take them home, but I always felt like I was stealing them because, let’s face it, I wasn’t just taking 2 or 3.  I was taking one of every fun colour I could find.  My guilty conscience got the best of me one day, and I actually asked the owner of the paint store if they  might be able to give me any swatches for “expired” colours.  She explained that they don’t take paint colours out of circulation, and therefore the swatches don’t actually expire, but she opened up a cupboard and grabbed me about 20 packages of unopened swatches in colours that weren’t big sellers.  She said they’d never go through them all, and she was happy to give them to me, knowing that we were crafting with them in my daycare. COOL eh?  Goes to show you that it never hurts to ask! 

Okay!  Once you have your swatches gathered up, hand the whole activity over to your toddler, and let them do their thing!toddler dropping paint swatches into pringles can for fine motor activity

The littles LOVED it!

The preschoolers even got into the action, working together to fill the can, IMG_5740

and then dumping the paint chips out, to start all over again.

The baby had a trouble getting the paint samples through the thin opening in the lid, so I removed the lid entirely for her, and she had a great time dropping the paint chips directly into the can.  This was still a good exercise in fine motor for her.  Those little paint chips are tricky to separate from each other, and challenging for little fingers to pick up off the floor.  Hand-eye co-ordination is challenged as well, lining the paint sample up, and fitting it into the top of the can.

pringles can lid off for baby fine motor activity


Don’t you love it when learning comes from the simplest of activities?

Fun was had by all!  And when you’re finished, store the paint chips in the can for future use!

So tell me, how have YOU used a Pringles can?

If this is your first visit to Happy Hooligans, WELCOME!  Be sure to pop over and Like us on Facebook!  There’s always lots going on there.follow happy hooligans on facebook

You can follow us on Pinterest as well!  You’ll find over 80 boards filled with kid friendly crafts and activities as well as some boards that reflect my personal interests. follow the Hooligans on Pinterest!

See you there!


    • happyhooligans says

      Thanks, Marianne! The hooligans LOVE using them for cutting as well. That’s a favourite activity here too. :)

  1. nancy says

    I did a similar thing with one if those tootsie roll banks and the little plastic things that come on pkgs of buns… worked great…kiddos loved it.

  2. Anne Holt says

    I made Pringle tubes into mark making kits. I covered the tin in popualr themed paper eg Ben 10, Disney etc then added a strap so that it then looked rather like an holder for carrying arrows, put paper and pens in and left them outside. All our nursery children loved them and mark making increased.

    • happyhooligans says

      Wonderful, Anne! We may have to do something similar here! Love the versatility of the humble Pringles can!

  3. Cha says

    I have a very hard time letting go of recyclables! My husband calls me a functional hoarder. Im so very glad you posted this, a lot of us can breathe a sigh of relief over paint sample anxiety. :)

    • happyhooligans says

      Hahaha! That had me laughing out loud, chalee8! A functional hoarder, exhibiting paint sample anxiety. Oh my. I think that probably describes a lot of us!

  4. Jill says

    I always grab a few of the paint chips too!! My new pile of craft/cutting pages…the travel brochures at the front of the hotel. My littles love cutting and gluing and using them as maps.

    • happyhooligans says

      Love the idea of hotel brochures. We haven’t tried map-making here, but it sounds like fun!

  5. bev says

    I just recently started grabbing them for my pre-k class we use them for cutting practice then we craft with them thanks for the game ideas

  6. June Roush says

    I did the same thing almost I used the plastic wipe boxes and use the metal juice tops and bottoms we used different stickers on them in numbers, colors, animals, the ABC’s what ever you want to work with them mix them up and have them separate them and put in the boxes the real little one just over 1 love to take colorful scarves out of the opening in the boxes their little hands go in there real easy…

  7. Adele Wilkes says

    Love this pringles can make. It’s so good to be in the company of people who understand the need to save things like paint cards, pringles cans, etc. etc, etc. I’ve never seen the blue plastic holder shown on this page.

    • happyhooligans says

      Oh, you should see my craft cupboards, Adele! LOL I have a hard time parting with anything that looks like it *might* come in handy one day! The blue canisters are by “Lays”. Very similar to a pringle, just a different brand. :)

  8. Beth says

    Awesome idea! Will be heading out for paint samples today! My daughter loves doing stuff like this! This is similar but my mom got a wipe box one that was soft when you put your hand in it because some of them are hard! Anyway she cut up different fabric strips and my little loves taking them out and putting them back in! Thanks for sharing!

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