This week featured two related projects. I have seen a lot of great feedback online about doing coffee filter art with markers. Basically, you draw on a coffee filter with a washable marker, and then get the filter wet, either with a brush or an eyedropper. The marker colors run and create an interesting and unpredictable color splash. However, I had noticed with my own son that very young children tend to make tenuous or thin lines with markers, and this is a project that works best with thick, strong lines. I also find that the washed colors show up better when the filter has dried, which means a level of delayed gratification that very young children don’t have yet.
Since I still wanted to work with the coffee filters, I decided to add to the project with water colors. I set up ice cube trays filled with washable water colors, and put eye droppers and brushes on the tables. Eye droppers can be tricky for little ones, both from a fine motor skill perspective and a developmental understanding that you have to squeeze, let go, and then squeeze again to make the liquid come out, which is one of the reasons I made sure brushes were available as well.
As expected, it was the older children who were more interested in drawing with the markers, though I did see some of the younger children experimenting with dipping the marker in the water before drawing. Several of the older children combined the two projects, dropping watercolors onto the coffee filter to create a colored background which they then drew on with darker markers. Since the paper was already wet, it blurred the markers lines slightly for an interesting effect.
I recognized from past experience that many of the children were going to be just as interested in mixing the colors together as they would be in using them on the paper, so I made sure to provide empty cups specifically for that purpose. Overall this was a very successful project, if only because many of the children were fascinated by the eyedroppers.