I decided last minute to put together this craft today, but I’m so glad we did! Because there are various periods of drying involved (for paint and glue), we spread it out over most of the day.
First, lay coffee filters flat (I recommend a layer of newspaper underneath), and have your child use a dropper to apply food coloring in various colors. I only had yellow and red left at home, but I liked the uncomplicated designs that Travis achieved as a result. Squeezing the dropper to apply the color was great fine-motor practice, which Travis took very seriously!
We finished with a paintbrush to apply the color more deeply in a few places.
Make sure you let the filters dry completely before moving on to the next step.
As a side note, extra coffee filters make for a fantastic toddler distraction while you get something else done around the house!
I found various methods online for pinching together the “butterflies” around clothespins, and liked the following method best. You’ll likely have to do this part yourself, unless your child is pre-school age or older. Pinch the coffee filter in the center, and clip a clothespin vertically to the filter. Fan out the “wings” of the butterfly on either side.
Clip pipe cleaners into 1-inch pieces, and let your child dip in glue before applying to the butterflies for antennas. (I had to help here as well, as the surface was very uneven for gluing, but Travis enjoyed dragging pipe cleaners through the glue nonetheless).
Once the glue dries, you can finish your butterflies with marker designs. Travis had a little fun coloring randomly on one butterfly, but I added the faces to the others.
The clothespins provide the perfect handle so your toddler can flit the butterflies all around your home. And they were quite simply magical in the window at sunset.