Monday, April 22, 2013

Penguin Planter Pets

Penguin Planter Pets are my take on the Chia Pet of yesteryear.  Remember those?  I never had one as a child so that may be why I was so excited to make one of my very own.

 Penguin Planter Pets - modern day chia pet from recycled can

This is a great craft for kids of all ages because you can gear it to their age.  Older kids can paint their own cans, younger kids can just do the embellishing and planting.   In the end they all take home a plant they've grown from seed and their very own penguin pet.  It also incorporates recycling which is always a bonus around here.

Penguin Planter Pets - modern day chia pet from recycled can

Materials Needed to make Penguin Planter Pets:

  • Empty tin cans (any size) that have been washed out and dried.
  • Craft paint or spray paint - black
  • Craft paint - white
  • Paint brushes
  • Felt - black and orange
  • Googly Eyes
  • Glue
  • Potting Soil
  • Grass Seed or Chia Seeds

Penguin Planter Pets - modern day chia pet from recycled can

Instructions to make Penguin Planter Pets:

Prior to the party: 

  1. Paint the outside of the can black.  It will likely take 2 coats to give a solid colour.  Allow to dry.
  2. Paint the white belly of the penguin using white craft paint. To get the shape, create the top like you are making a heart then continue straight down instead of curving to a point. Allow to dry.
  3. Cut out 2 wings for each penguin planter from black felt.
  4. Cut out 1 triangle nose and 2 feet for each penguin planter from orange felt.

During the Party:

  1. Provide each child with a penguin planter can, 2 wings, 2 feet, 2 googly eyes, and a nose.
  2. Help them glue the wings, feet, eyes and nose onto their cans.
  3. With the help of an adult, have the children fill the can 3/4 full with potting soil.
  4. Add a sprinkling of grass/chia seeds.
  5. Cover with more potting soil and water slightly.
  6. Provide instructions to the parents to keep the soil moist and place in a sunny spot.

A week or so after the party their penguin planter pet will start sprouting hair (or funny penguin eyebrows).


  • Worried that the kids will be disappointed that their pal hasn't already sprouted hair?  Substitute pre-grown chives or alfalfa sprouts for the grass/chia seeds.  Alternatively, choose a nice succulent plant for each child so they have an instantaneous penguin plant pet.
Penguin Planter Pets - modern day chia pet from recycled can

We have a grandma in our family who collects penguins.  I think I see a mother's day present in her future!

PS - You can try this craft with other animals too such as owls, dogs, and of course a hairy bear.  The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!


  1. Wish I would have seen this before planting carrots in a yogurt container! I planted them for the tops for our bunny. This would be great fun for my 4 year old.... Might just have to do it for herbs.... Thank you! I love your Creative ideas!

    1. I love the idea of making a bunny the same way and planting carrots! If you make one, be sure to send a photo so I can share it with my readers! Wouldn't a herb garden of animal friends be adorable? You might just see that pop up soon! Thanks for sharing!


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