Choosing Can Instructions

A choosing can is something that can help greatly in ensuring that every child gets a turn for sharing time, singing time, etc. Here's what I did to make the choosing cans for our Primary.

  1. Wash out an old formula can. Any formula can will do, but I like the Carnation formula cans because they are all metal instead of cardboard, so I feel like they will last longer. Formula cans are also great because they don't have any rough edges around the inside lip.
  2. Print out these graphics--one for Sr. and one for Jr. If you don't have your Primary divided into Sr. and Jr. print this graphic.  I have tried to size them so it will fit your can, but you may find you need to re-size them a little. Copy the graphic onto your hard drive by right-clicking on the graphic and choosing "Save Picture As" on the little menu that pops up. Open it in your graphics program, or in Word or Publisher, and resize it to the size you need.
  3. Cut out the graphic and glue it to the can.
  4. Measure the inside diameter of the can. Cut a piece of cardboard (like from a cereal box) that is 1/2 inch bigger than the diameter of the can. Fold each side up 1/4 inch. Hot-glue the folded parts to the sides of the can. You will now have a can that is divided in half on the inside by a cardboard divider.
  5. Now, take as many tongue depressors as you have children, and paint ONE END of them in some bright color like red or blue. I used spray paint to do this. It doesn't matter how far up the stick you paint, as long as you leave the other end unpainted. On the unpainted ends, write the name of a child in your primary.
  6. Put the tongue depressors, unpainted ends up, in one side of the choosing can. When a name is chosen out of the can and that child gets a turn, the stick is then turned over so that the painted end is up and put in the other side of the can. You can always tell which side is the side to choose from because the unpainted ends will be up. When you've used all the sticks turn them over and start again.


    We have two cans because we have to have separate sharing times for Jr. and Sr. Primary. I painted the sticks two different colors so we could tell which can it went in if we came across one that had gotten loose from the can.