Tie-dye for tots... and older kids, too

My youngest grandson, Mac, doesn't have the penchant for craft-making that his older brother does. Bubby's attention span can handle a craft that has, say, six or eight steps, knowing there's a grand payoff at the end. Mac, on the other hand — because he's younger and always on the go, go, go — can handle a craft with one quarter that number of steps, and instant payoff of some sort is key.

Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), finding a craft that pleases both can be a challenge. This one, though — a tie-dye project of sorts — was a success. Mac created one or two and was done; Bubby made one after another until the food coloring bottles were nearly empty. Yes, success!


What you need:

• Coffee filters

• Food coloring

• Clothes pins (or large metal binder clips or large paper clips)

• Paper plates or newspaper — or both — for protecting the crafting surface


What you do:

This craft can be done indoors, but I chose to do it outside to take advantage of the desert weather. Warning: Don't do this outside if there's even the slightest breeze.


Flatten out a few coffee filters per child. Then fold in half and half again and half again, to create a long triangle or sorts. For each child, attach a clothespin to a folded coffee filter, to not only hold the coffee filter closed, but to create a handle for the child to hold the filter without ending up with technicolor hands.


Holding the filter over the paper plate or covered surface, have child carefully squeeze drips of color onto the filter, covering both sides of filter as desired.


Once the child has added all the color he'd like, an adult (again, to prevent colored hands on the child, at least to some degree) should carefully remove the filter and open it up, placing it to dry on the paper plate while a new filter is added to the clothes pin and a new creation started.


Allow the filters to dry completely, then display as desired. Bubby and Mac chose to hang all theirs on their family room window, which created a bit of a stained-glass effect they were quite proud of.


A fast, cheap and easy craft for kiddos with short or long attention spans — and for grandmas and others who claim they're not crafty (you know who you are!).


Today's question:

What did you most recently use food coloring for?