Just like cornstarch and water, this is another simple science experiment I remember doing back in elementary school.
All you need are some coffee filters, colored markers, water, and a little patience and you can explore chromatography! (Don’t worry, it’s just a big word which basically means you are going to separate the colors.)
I showed the kids how to make colored dots with the markers along the bottom edge of the coffee filter.
Then we put just the edge of the filter into a shallow container of water, making sure the marker dots were above the water. (I had to use some clothes pins to hold the filters onto the edge of the container so they wouldn’t slide to deep into the water.)
Almost immediately you will see the colors start to spread as the filter soaks up water.
If you are patient enough the different colors will spread all the way to the edge of the filter. This is really pretty if you use several different colored dots!
Once the color was all the way to the edge, we took the filters out to dry. If you don’t take them out of the water in time, the color will eventually disappear except for a thin line of color up at the top — like our green one in the picture above.
I think my youngest preschooler could have drawn dots and watched the colors all day. We had a stove top full of colorful coffee filters when we were finished.
Once they dry, use your colorful coffee filter experiment to create some beautiful coffee filter crafts!
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