Unused coffee filters create the base for many recycled craft ideas for kids. Pick up an extra pack of inexpensive paper filters and let the kids turn them into creative pieces of art. If you already have extra filters and a store of crafty odds and ends, most projects are practically free. The crafts fit into many different themes making them ideal for classrooms or at home as a rainy-day activity.
The bottom of a coffee filter is a circle shape making it perfect for a small replica of the Earth. Make sure you cover the working surface with newspaper or a plastic sheet. Drops of green and blue liquid food coloring are placed on the bottom of the coffee filter. The food color will spread out across the filter to create an Earth-like appearance. Lightly spray the surface with water if the colors don't cover the filter on their own.
Once dry, cut out the circle. The Earth replicas works well on a bulletin board or suspended from the ceiling. Use different colors for other planets.
Flowers are a simple craft to make from coffee filters. When using a basket-style coffee filter, the kids decorate them with markers or watercolor paints. The center of the coffee filter is bunched up so the top portion forms a flower-like structure. You can also stack two or three coffee filters together for a fuller flower. A green pipe cleaner wrapped around the gathered center, holds the piece together and creates a stem for the flower.
Use a coffee filter to create the body of a jellyfish. Cover a small paper cup with the coffee filter. The cup gives the body structure while the soft, flared edges of the coffee filter make it resemble a jellyfish. Cut long pieces of streamers to create the tentacles of the jellyfish. You can tape them inside the cup and let them dangle down. The kids can paint or otherwise decorate the coffee filter to add color to the jellyfish. Punch a hole in the bottom of the cup and up through the filter and hang the jellyfish with a piece of yarn or string.
Coffee filter snowflakes make a beautiful addition to any room during the winter months. Fold the coffee filters in half several times to create a triangular shape much like normal paper snowflakes. The kids then cut out little designs along the edge of the filter to create the design. When unfolded, the coffee filters resemble snowflakes. Spray them with water tinted with a few drops of food coloring if you want some color. Another option is to apply some glitter spray for a sparkly effect.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.