Last week was Steve's birthday. He's a simple man who wants only simple things to celebrate his day. Perhaps his favorite meal for dinner, followed by a pastry treat. I, on the other hand, delight in making a big deal about the anniversary of his birth. It's the one day that I get to honor Steve, exactly as he is, and he can't brush me off with a humble guffaw.
I wanted to do a project with Silas that would be fun and open-ended for him, but that also might generate something lovely to share with papa on his day of celebration. I saw some folks doing this coffee filter project for art-in-the-park during Farmer's Market one weekend this summer and knew it would be perfect.
The set-up is just a stack of coffee filters (ten was plenty for Silas' level of interest), a selection of food coloring mixed with water (20 drops of coloring to maybe 1/2 cup of water, or so), pipettes, and a waterproof tray to put it all on. I laid this out while Silas' napped for him to discover when he awoke.
We have never used pipettes before, so I demonstrated how to hold them under the water while both squeezing and letting go (a tough concept!) so that they suck up the color, then moving the pipette over the coffee filter and squeezing again to make the water come out.
This is great for development of fine motor skills. There was also a lovely sense of wonder. He squeezed the entire contents of that pipette right in the middle of the filter every single time and the way the colors spread and mingled never failed to fascinate him.
In the photo above you can see the drying line that I set up for him. It's just a length of kitchen twine strung between two chairs. When he decided he was done with a particular filter he brought it over to the line and draped it over the string. With a little help from mama to get them centered, we had an instant bunting.
As I said above, ten filters was about all he wanted to do before he was done with this activity. It took a great deal of concentration and effort to transfer the colored water.
When we were done, I couldn't just pour the water down the drain; it just seemed too wasteful. I mean, look how pretty it is! So, I grabbed four bottles of different sizes and shapes out of the cupboard and decanted them into that, adding some water to the green and blue to make them more transparent, and put them in the window. Not only has it been a quick way to add a little color to our dining room, it has provided a visual prompt for Silas to talk about this project and his process in making it. We had several visitors this weekend and for each of them he recounted what he did while pointing to the colored water and the bunting.
When they were dry, I just left them on the string and tied them up in our dining room. With a marker I wrote "I *heart* daddy" across the bunting and we hung it up in the dining room where it served as Silas' birthday "card" to his papa. It was a good day.