Three Educational Canning Lid Games

By Jaimie Bauer
I love recycling things and if I can upcycle it, that’s even better! My canning supply drawer has been filling up with used canning lids. I really don’t have a hard time throwing things away if I feel that it no longer has a use for me. I can’t stand to see things lying around that I don’t use. But I haven’t been able to throw away old canning lids. They just look so useful to me! So I came up with three kids’ games that can be made from old canning lids. This project was simple enough for my 8-year-old to put together himself after receiving instruction from me. My kids love the games and they cost us nothing to put together. Simple, free, and fun. I love that!
All you need are old canning lids—preferably regular mouth size—and a sticker book. We used an old Thomas the Tank Engine train sticker/coloring book that we have had for years.
1. Matching Game
Matching games are fun for kids and they develop tools of observation, comparison, and recall. To make our game, we used sixteen lids and eight pairs of stickers. The big, round, colorful ones are great for my 2-year-old. He loves matching the buses, tractors, flags, and hats. At his age, he is able to do three or four pairs at a time. The canning lids are easy for his little hands to turn over and back. And they are durable! There are no worries about wrinkled or torn cards. My 8-year-old likes doing all eight pairs. The beauty of this project is that you can create as many pairs as you want. We may add more lids and stickers as time goes on to make the game harder.
2. Pattern Game
Pattern games are great for kids because they help teach sorting, grouping, and how things work together. For this game, we needed to find multiples of the same stickers. Four and five of each type is ideal, or more if you want to repeat a pattern several times. The idea is to make a pattern using the lids and have your child repeat the pattern. For example: circle, circle, star, circle, circle, star, and so on. When children get good at it, they can repeat more involved patterns or create their own.
3. Counting Game
I like how all the Thomas trains have different numbers. We found stickers up to number six. When my 2-year-old is a little older and learning how to count, it will be fun to use the lids for putting numbers in order. It’s easy for kids to remember numbers by correlating them with the names of the trains. For an older child, you could put numbers on more lids and change the game to help your child to count by twos and fives.
This was such a fun project for my kids. I love that it has great possibilities for entertaining and educating kids of many ages. By using stickers that are related to things that they may already be interested in, you can make learning even more fun. You are only limited by how many old canning lids you have!
Jaimie is a homesteading and homeschooling mom of two boys. She enjoys cooking, organizing, and reading stories to her family by lantern light. She and her husband write articles for their website,, and make videos for their YouTube channel,, sharing their adventures in homesteading and off-grid living.

2 thoughts on “Three Educational Canning Lid Games”

  1. Jamie, I love your canning lid game idea! Genius! After opening jars of home canned fruit, veggies and jam, I end up with lots of used canning lids too. My daughter is starting a few preschool exercises right now at 3 1/2 and I am always struggling to find something to keep her busy while schooling my 3rd and 5th grader boys, especially during our reading/spelling/grammar lessons. With her starting to give up napping (much to mama’s dislike) it has become more difficult. Love the matching game and sequencing game ideas…I may have to buy stickers…I’m thinking My Little Pony, colored star stickers and probably some alphabet stickers from the scrapbooking area of the store. Matching upper and lower cases of a few letters at a time?

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