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


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

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


How I did it:

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

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See you there!

Yours in play, Jackie from Happy Hooligans

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