Parents who are looking for something fun to do with their kids away from electronic devices this spring may want to consider the things that can be done with a coffee filter. This versatile item that is common to most households can be used to create crafts, do a science experiment or play a fun game. Here are three ideas for things to do with coffee filters the next time your kids are bored and looking for something new to try.
Colors in Black
This is a very simple science experiment to show kids that the color black is really the combination of many different colors.
Clear glass jar or glass
Black water soluble marker (dry erase markers work best)
- Cut the coffee filter into strips so that each strip can easily be inserted into the glass or jar.
- Fill the glass or jar ½ full with tap water.
- Draw a black horizontal line on the first coffee filter strip about 2 inches away from one of the short edges.
- Insert the coffee filter into the glass so the short edge nearest the black line is slightly under the level of the water.
- Watch what happens to the black line.
The coffee filter will absorb the water and as the water passes over the black line the line will begin to move up with the water. As the line moves the many colors that are in the marker will begin to separate. If you leave the filter in the glass until the filter has absorbed as much water as it can, the line should have moved all the way to the top of the filter and changed to a rainbow of colors. This experiment can be repeated, but the marker must be water soluble or it won’t work. If your kids aren’t interested in science, they can still have fun with coffee filters.
Coffee Filter Butterflies
Spring is on the way and insect lovers may start thinking about all of the beautiful butterflies that will soon arrive. Kids can get a jump on spring by making their own butterflies to decorate or to play with.
- Use the water colors and brush to paint one or more coffee filters. The colors will run together as the filter absorbs the water. No two butterflies will be the same as colors mix together. Kids will probably want to make several at the same time. Allow the filters to dry completely before continuing.
- Once the filters are dry fold each coffee filter in an accordion fold–the same way kids fold paper to make fans.
- Pinch the folded filter in the middle and insert the pinched area into the clothespin. Spread the coffee filter to create wings on either side of the wooden clothespin.
- Add two drops of glue to the front of the clothespin and place the googly eyes.
- Draw a smile under the eyes with the marker and the butterfly is finished.
The butterfly can be used to decorate the house by clipping the clothespin onto curtains or other hanging objects. These butterflies can also be used to play a modified game of “Pin the Tail.”
Pin the Butterfly on the Flower
Kids love to get outside in the spring, but sometimes the ground is too wet to play on. This is the perfect time to pull out the sidewalk chalk and play a new game. Many children are familiar with the game, “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” or some variation. In this game the kids will use the sidewalk chalk to create a garden scene and drop their coffee filter butterfly onto the drawing.
Instruct the kids to choose an area and draw a garden with flowers and whatever else they think belongs in a garden. They may include the sky, grass, bugs, worms, rocks, flowers, weeds or butterflies in the drawing. This will be a great exercise in creative play for children with autism. Encourage them to use their imagination. The drawing should be as large as they want. Once they are done drawing, use a white piece of chalk and draw a white flower somewhere in the garden scene. The kids will need the coffee filter butterflies they made earlier to play the game.
The first child will need to close their eyes and spin in place three times. Then, without opening their eyes, they must try to drop their butterfly onto the white flower. Repeat the process for each player. If they are old enough and don’t mind having something around their eyes, they can be blindfolded. This game is easy for parents as there is very little preparation and it is different every time because the drawing is different each time. This is just one example of a fun way to use sidewalk chalk.
Kids will enjoy using their imagination and learning with these activities using coffee filters.