Tin Can Animals

Pencil_cups 007 A fun, eco-friendly activity that uses recycled goods from home to create cute animal pencil cups.


  • To use recycled materials to create an animal pencil cup
  • To learn about different animals and their different colors, features, etc.
  • To use fine motor skills to attach small pieces to cans
  • To reinforce concepts of "same" and "different"

Before You Start: Have children collect tin cans from home. Only one end should be cut off. You will also need paint, construction paper, wiggly eyes, feathers, scissors and tape/glue.

Let's Get Started! Step 1. Make sure all cans are washed and dried thoroughly. Tape any sharp edges.

Step 2. Discuss different kinds of animals. Talk about the colors of the animals’ fur or skin. Have the children point out how a cow and elephant are the same (they both have a tail, four legs, two eyes, etc.) Then, have the children point out the differences.

Step 3. Create a pencil holder in the shape of an animal. Let the children decide which animal they’d like to make.

Step 4. Have the children paint the can in the appropriate colors or patterns.

Step 5. Use construction paper to create the cut-outs for ears, trunks, horns, bills, or snouts of the animals. Use wiggly eyes for the eyes.

Step 6. Have the children tape and/or glue the various features to the can.

Furthermore: Let the students practice the sounds that each animal makes by playing a fun game. Set the empty animal pencil cups in the front of the classroom. Hand each student a few pencils or markers and have them take turns going to front of the classroom and putting a pencil in an animal cup. When they place the pencil inside the cup, the whole class must make the sound of that animal. These make good counting aides as well. Place different numbers of pencils, crayons, markers, etc. into the cups and ask the students questions for them to identify and count. (Ex: "How many crayons are in the chicken cup?")

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