Saturday, May 10, 2014

Five Fun Filter Ideas

We are busy, busy, busy in Kidpeople kindergarten with so much to do and teach in these last weeks! But I hang on to those early childhood roots and squeeze in the "good stuff" whenever I can. A bit of the good stuff is arts and crafts. I don't need to tell any of YOU about how it teaches fine muscle coordination, spatial awareness, color appreciation, sense of accomplishment, and good old JOY.

This time I decided we were going to spend some time with coffee filters to bring spring in! In this one week we had temps in the 40s and in the 80s. Yep, it's spring and it's Michigan.

1. Materials: The best part about coffee filters, in addition to the fact that they're cheap, is their weight, texture, and that they absorb so well. You can color them with crayons, of course, but markers (followed with water to make the color run), watercolor paint, food coloring, and bingo dabbers are all worth experimenting with. For this go-around we used markers with water, and the dabbers, though the dabbers turned out a lot better. Dabbers bring quick coverage, you can make cool patterns, you get some blending for that tie-dye look, and the colors are intense and gorgeous. We experimented with folding them up before coloring and got some neat symmetry, too. Everybody made at least four to start with. I went to the dollar store and Meijers to spruce up my supply. They're cheap and last a good while. I gave each child a tray to work on so the mess was contained and easily rinsed away.
I used several brands and they all worked great
2. Flowers: I used the free flower craft from Michelle Griffo's TPT store to help the kiddos make flowers. I made stencils out of the flower shape- the kids traced it on to the dried filters, then cut it out. They worked pretty independently to put it together and label it... literacy and science snuck in a bit :)
Tie them to science
3. Butterflies: We made two kinds. The first one used wooden, one piece style clothespins. Kids colored them with fat dry erase markers for intense black bodies. They slid the filter up the slit in the clothespin, scrunching it to make it fit. Then they wrapped a small rubberband (the kind that come in a million colors and are used in the current bracelet making craze) around the end so the filter couldn't slip out. I cut a supply of chenille stems to a length that worked to make antennae to wrap around their "neck" by giving a twist.
Clothespin version on the left, popsicle stick version on the right
Butterfly Number Two- We colored two popsicle sticks with the black marker, then using two of the small rubberbands, one at each end of the popsicle sticks, we sandwiched the filter in between, fluffing the wings out a bit. I cut more chenille stems, had the kids bend them into a 'V' and then slide them under the rubberband at the "head" end. Googly eyes finish them nicely.
Pretty simple- 2 sticks, 2 bands, 1 pipe cleaner, 1 filter, and don't forget the googly eyes!
4. Display TIPS!!!  I don't know how I have followed so many blogs and missed what must be known by other teachers: MAGNETS STICK TO THE FRAMES OF DROPPED CEILINGS! How did I not know this?? I sat one day staring up, then had Jonathan climb a step stool– his extra inches let him reach the ceiling– and sure enough, the frames are steel. Yippee! This opens up all sorts of interesting display options. I used it for the first time here in this picture by attaching magnets to the butterfly bodies... kinda looks like they are flocking to the windows... or would that be swarming... I have this long handled gripper thing and by standing on the step stool I could hold the butterfly up close enough to the ceiling for the magnet to stick to the frame.
Magnets make 'em stick to the ceiling tile frame!
Butterflies all around
5. Color Pops... that is what one little guy called our filters on the windows. Even on gray days the light shines through to show gorgeous color.  Love 'em.
Filters add a "Color Pop" to the windows even on gray days

Hope you enjoy these coffee filter ideas. Let me know how you use them! Happy Spring!

So nice this post fit in beautifully with TWO great blog link-ups at Doodle Bugs Teaching:
 Five for Friday- YAY!
AND No Time for Flashcards:

Click on their icons above for more great ideas!

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  1. You have an adorable blog! I love your butterfly projects. I found you through the Five For Friday link-up!

  2. Thanks! So glad you like it. I love those link-ups, too. All those blogs and all their good stuff! Thanks for commenting and I hope I am worth following, too :)

  3. Love the coffee filter window art!

  4. Glad you like it. I was surprised at how much light came through the filters, especially when they were soaked with the dabber ink. Even on cloudy days the natural light makes them look bright. Thanks for commenting!