Friday, December 23, 2011

Let It Snow (Our Own Way)

Hi! It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended use. Today we repurpose coffee filters.

My kids love scissors and love to cut. In the past couple of years, we've enjoyed cutting snowflakes from coffee filters. Coffee filters are already a circular shape, are thin and are easier to cut than paper, even when folded. (And you can get a lot for a low cost...especially if you find some at the dollar store!)

The group I had last year enjoyed folding and cutting. They experimented with folding and cutting, looking for different ways to create. In fact, we had this particular activity because I saw a child experimenting when we were doing something else.

This year, the group was more interested in cutting, not necessarily creating anything but exploring the process.

As the teacher, I often have my own plans, my own "agenda" of what should happen. But my agenda cannot be the driving force in the classroom. Kids need to explore their own ideas and follow their own agendas. After all that's how the learning happens.

At the end of the day, the most important activity is the one that allows children to explore and add to their knowledge and understanding of the world. If they are just doing what I tell them to do, they are only learning to implement my ideas - and are not gaining a broader understanding of the world and their own skills and abilities.

Many times I must take a deep breath...and let go. And I can be surprised by what the kids create.

This activity is a great one to use the mini trash cans, too. (Use any small container you have for this. More repurposing!)

Kids can help keep control of all those little pieces. And learn responsibility too.

My name is Scott, though most call me Mr. Scott. I love teaching preschoolers and kindergartners. I have been working with kids for over 25 years. I've been a teacher, preschool center director, volunteer, curriculum writer and editor, and workshop and conference leader. I blog at Brick by Brick.


  1. brilliant & guess what I have a load of filters that are the wrong size for my machine, now I know what I'll be doing with them

  2. Love the article. We don't get much snow in Alabama. You are invited to my blog to see "Southern Snow"

  3. Scott, this is such a great way to build those fine motor skills! We'll be doing a lot of this in January, especially since many of my kids need practice with scissors. Thanks for sharing! (Great reminder to use those little trash cans on each table, too!) Happy New Year! :)

  4. I love the way you repurpose materials, Scott! This is a great activity - and it's also great that you were inspired to do this by observing a child! I pinned your post to my Kids' Winter Activities Pinterest board at

  5. This post hits SO close to home. I wanted to do make coffee filter snowflakes with my PreKinders this year. My agenda, and my hope, was that every child would at least attempt ONE and hopefully a couple of children would be interested enough to make several so we could have a few dozen to hang on the windows. MUCH to my surprise, the children LOVED this activity. They made snowflakes during center time, during quiet time once they were awake, and during afternoon free play. All of the children participated, and most couldn't get enough. My student teacher and I couldn't keep up with the demand for folded filters! I even took a bunch home at night to prefold for the next day. After nearly 10 straight days of snowflake creating, we have nearly 300 hanging all over the room. I just kept adding string from one place to another to accommodate the daily additions! I was thoroughly pleased, impressed, and surprised by the turn out of this simple activity. Each snowflake is unique and beautiful. It's a blizzard in our room and our hearts are filled with warmth each time we enter! It will be a bittersweet day when the snow stops falling and spring arrives in our classroom!


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