Lots of Other

Cup Activities and Ideas


Matching Games, Building Cups, Classroom Management, Review, Fence Art and Brainstorming are just a few of the many activities creative teachers can develop and improve with cups. These activities provide opportunities for collaboration, communication, problem solving, and creativity at its finest!

How many of these ideas can you use and make better? I would love to hear about your successes. Maybe I can share some on my web site and give you credit as well. 

Matching Games  - Trace around the bottom of cups on a file folder.  (Bathroom cups work best for this game.)  Write numerals on the circles or letters on the circles.  Challenge children to match cups and circles as fast as they can.  Mix the cups up and then see if they can stack them in order.

Matching Games

  • Glue pictures of opposites or write synonyms on cups to make a matching game.
  • Write compound words (one word on each cup) and have children stack them and say the words  Compound Words
  • Glue pictures of mother and baby animals, things that rhyme, animals and habitats, things that go together, before and after (you get it) for children to match and stack.Baby Animals

    Hint!  Old workbooks have great pictures for games like these.

Review Questions - Write a question on the front of the cup and write the answer inside for a self-check activity.

Review Questions

Building Cups – Put out cups and paper plates for the children as a construction project.  Don’t tell them what to do or give them any directions and you’ll be surprised at what they come up with!  Talk about 21st Century skills!  Collaboration, communication, problem solving, and creativity at its finest!

This would be a great project for two children or a group of four.  Give them a set time and then let each group report on what they created.

Building Cups

Help Me!  Give each child a red and green cup to keep in their desk.  When they are doing independent work have them place the cups on their desk with the green on top.  Green means they are good to GO!  If they need help they put the red cup on top to indicate, “Please STOP and help me.”

Help Me!

Classroom Management – You’ll need a red, green, and yellow cup for this activity.  Stack the red, yellow, and green cups in that order and place them in the middle of a table where students sit.  If the group gets loud, remove the green cup and the yellow will be a warning to calm down.  If the noise continues remove the yellow cup and they must stop all talking.

Classroom Management

Note!  I didn’t think of this.  There are several variations of it on the internet. 

Dippers and Fillers – This is a popular management system that many schools use.  When children are unkind or say something hurtful they are “dippers.”  When they are kind they are “fillers.”  Punch holes in the sides of a cup and tie on a string or pipe cleaner so children can hang them on their chairs or a bulletin board.  The teacher or friends can put a token in their cup to thank them for being a “filler.”

Dippers and FIllers



Storage – Plastic cups can be used for organizing art materials, pencils, and other supplies. 

  • How about a cup for “Lost and Found Crayons” or “Lost and Found Pencils”?
  • Store brain tickets or other coupons in cups.


Lucky Sticks – Let each child decorate a craft stick with her name.  Place the sticks in a cup labeled “lucky sticks.”  When you have a special job to be done pull a stick from the cup.  That’s the “lucky” winner.  Put their stick in your desk after they’ve had a turn and when all the sticks are in your desk put them back in the cup and start all over.

Lucky Sticks

Touch and Tell – Insert a cup in a sock.  Put an unusual item down in the cup.  Children reach in the sock and try to identify the object by touch. 

Touch and Tell

  • Make several of these and number each one. 
  • Have children draw a picture or write a sentence about each object.

Hairy Creatures – Let children draw silly faces on small bathroom cups.  Fill the cups with soil and sprinkle grass seed on the top.  Water, set in the sun, and before long you’ll have a hairy creature!

Hairy Creature

Instruments – Give each child a cup and play some catchy music.  Have them gently tap the cup on their desk to the beat of the music.

•Give them two cups that they can tap together to make music.

Clucker Cup – Take a nail and poke it through the bottom of a cup.  (An adult will need to do this.)  Thread a 2’ piece of string through the hole and tie a paper clip to the end in the cup.  Hold the cup upside down and dip the string in water.  With your index finger and thumb, gently pull down on the string.  You can make a long squeaking noise or jerk it to sound like a chicken.

Clucker Cup

Phone – Punch holes in the bottoms of two cups.  Take an 8’ piece of string and thread each end through the bottom of a cup.  Tie paper clips to the ends of the strings in the cups.  Each friend takes a cup and pulls the string taut.  One child talks in a cup while the other child holds the cup to her ear and listens.


Fence Art – You’ve all seen this where the children stick cups in a chain link fence to make a design.  This is great for holidays and other special celebrations.

•You could also challenge children to make patterns in a fence with cups.

Pop Up Puppet –This is cute for a groundhog or a bunny.  Poke a hole in the bottom of a cup.  Draw a groundhog, bunny, or other creature that lives underground on a piece of paper.  Cut out and attach to a straw.  Turn the cup upside down and insert the straw through the hole in the cup.  Move the straw up and down so the critter can pop out of the hole.

Pop Up Puppet

Snack Cups – In addition to using cups for liquids, they’re handy for serving popcorn and other snacks to children. 

•Decorate with stickers and use for party treats.

Brainstorm – Divide students into groups of 4.  Give each group a cup and challenge them to come up with as many uses for the cup as they can in 5 minutes.

Is your cup “overflowing” with ideas???

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