Do you know how to make coffee filter snowflakes? Making coffee filter snowflakes is a great craft and activity for preschoolers that works on their fine motor skills as well as teaches a science. Yay for Preschool STEAM!
This snowflake STEAM activity is perfect for fans of Frozen II since we all know Elsa’s signature spell is a snowflake.
Coffee Filter Snowflake Preschool Craft and STEAM Activity using Chromatography
The paper snowflake is a very popular craft for kids. I love to make coffee filter crafts (you’ve seen us do a coffee filter heart for Valentines, a coffee filter four-leaf-clover for St. Patrick’s day, and we even did a coffee filter Easter egg chromatography activity. Here’s a winter-themed activity following that pattern, a coffee filter snowflake chromatography.
I consider this craft-tivity more for preschoolers than toddlers due to the need for some scissor skills.
Supplies for coffee filter snowflakes:
Steps for the Coffee Filter Snowflake Chromatography Activity
Decorating your Coffee Filters:
First, you have your preschooler draw all over the coffee filters with their markers. There can be squiggly lines or fancy designs. Let them decorate several – the more snowflakes the better, right? Fun times ahead.
You can do patterns evenly all around, or lines and circles. Let the little artist control the design.
The next steps can be done in a different order – but if your kid is like mine, patience is not a virtue. If you would rather make snowflakes out of coffee filters that have already undergone the chromatography effect, remember they have to be very dry before you cut the shapes. My kid wasn’t going to want to wait for that so we had him do the cutting right away, and chromatography part after.
How to make Coffee Filter Snowflakes:
- With your coffee filter flat, fold it in half to make a semi-circle.
- Fold it in half again to make a quarter circle.
- Then fold in half one more time for your 1/8 circle.
Press firmly along the fold each time.
- Then cut along the straight edge to make various pattern cuts, carefully not to cut all the way across or off the tip. You need one edge to contain and connect the patterns.
This activity is great for preschoolers to practice the fine-motor skills of folding and pressing. The coffee filter snowflake activity also works on scissor skills for preschoolers and is great for hand-eye coordination. If you want another fun activity for toddlers to practice fine motor skills you might like this rain cloud craft.
Make as many cuts as you want. Each different cut creates a different design. The more cuts, the more intricate the snowflake pattern will be when unfolded. As you see this snowflake design in the photo is a simpler one. Make one, make several. You can make your own design as your preschooler makes their design. A fun activity to do together.
Steps for the Chromatography part of the coffee filter snowflake STEAM activity
At this point, you have decorated and cut out your coffee filter snowflakes. Now time for the chromatography.
Chromatography is separation chemistry. Here you are allowing the color pigments that make up the marker to separate as water travels through the marks made and climbs up the coffee filter.
Add water to your bowl or another container, just a bit at the bottom. Place the coffee filter snowflake loosely unfolded into the container. You want the bottom of the coffee filter to touch the water, but the coffee filter should not otherwise be submerged.
Wait and watch as the water travels up and the colors begin to separate and bleed up the coffee filter.
This overall effect makes the snowflake a fun decorated style, kind of rainbow-like if you use many colors, a bit blurry as the colors bleed through the coffee filter.
Take the snowflake out of the water after the water has traveled through, and allow it to dry. Then hang as decorations on your door or from the ceiling.