So, you went to the store for coffee filters, but you aren’t the one who makes the morning pot and ended up with the wrong size. You have a hundred useless coffee filters just taking up room in your pantry now. What do you do? Art and science of course! The only other supply you need to find is food coloring and you are set to make tie dye sun catchers and experiment with “walking” water.
These tie dye coffee filters were always one of my favorite crafts as a kid. Thanks mom! As usual, I like to do this project in a pan to manage the mess, but some newspaper or paper bags would work just as well. You can substitute paper towels if you don’t have coffee filters.
Fold your coffee filter circles in half, then fold it in half two more times.
Drip food coloring drops directly onto one (or both) sides of the coffee filter. You can’t go wrong.
Viola! They catch the light nicely if you hang them in a window. The filters are about the same size as most dixie style paper plates, and if you cut out the inside circle of a paper plate, you can attach your favorite coffee filter designs with a little tape. Then punch some holes in the paper plate ring and let your kids thread string or yarn through with sticks or leaves (or whatever) tied to the bottom. A hodge-podge preschool version of a dream catcher!
Next up, we learn a little bit about capillary action. This actually works faster with paper towels, but I like to make my kids wait a little bit for results. It is also fun to try the experiment with paper towels and coffee filter strips at the same time. Ask your kids which material they think will work better, and then talk about why. You can never start systematically testing hypotheses too early I say. Another experiment that you can do to demonstrate capillary action at the same time is to put a few sticks of celery into different colored cups of water and see what happens overnight.
So, first, you will want to cut out a few strips of paper towel or coffee filter. Then fill one cup with red colored water, and another with blue. Put a third empty cup in between the other two.
Now, put the end of a strip of paper into the red cup of water and fold the other end into the empty cup. Do the same for the blue water. Watch the colored water slowly creep up the paper and fill the empty jar. This takes a few minutes with paper towels and a few hours with coffee filters. The water will keep moving until the water level in all three cups is equal!