How to Make Coffee Filter Snowflakes for an Indoor Snow Adventure
Looking for an indoor wintertime activity that brings out the inner artist in your kids?
Make your own snowflakes and take your family on an indoor snow adventure!
You won’t need mittens or boots to fill your house with unique snowflakes—just coffee filters and a pair of scissors.
In this article I’ll show you how to create both simple and complex snowflake designs from coffee filters. Keep reading to learn why you and your children will be eager to cut out a blizzard of snowflakes!
Why Make Coffee Filter Snowflakes?
Ah, the first snowfall. Kids can’t wait to get out in that fresh snow and make their marks. But when snow angels, snowballs, snow forts and snowmen lose their luster and the temperature is 5 below BRRRR, what’s next on the winter adventure list?
Ditch the frozen temps and wet gloves to spend an afternoon inside. Don’t worry. We’re not suggesting you settle in for an afternoon of “I’m bored!” or “What can I do?” We’ve all had quite enough of that, thank you very much.
Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean you can’t pretend to be outside. Ask your kids how they’d bring the outside in. What would they do if they could make it snow inside?
In the time it takes you to track down gloves, coats, scarves and boots—and get your kids into them—you and your children can create your own winter wonderland inside!
Watch this funny clip from A Christmas Story where Randy is getting bundled up and can’t put his arms down!
Coffee filter snowflakes are a creative way for your children to practice their fine motor skills as they cut out their unique snowflakes with scissors. Your older children can try creating more challenging snowflake designs using symmetrical shapes and letters.
Using coffee filters eliminates the need for spending time folding papers into squares or tracing circles before you can begin cutting snowflakes. Less hassle for you means more fun for everyone!
This craft (excuse me, adventure) is easy and inexpensive. In fact, you may already have everything you need right in your pantry!
Two quick notes about your supplies:
- While white filters look the most like snowflakes, any round coffee filters will do. Don’t let filter color derail your quest for indoor fun!
- Crafting scissors with decorative edges will work just fine for making paper snowflakes, but if your crew wants more detail, use regular scissors (just be sure to supervise!).
With a few items you probably already have in your pantry, I’ll show you how you can transform your regular old living room into a swirling, snowy arctic adventure. Let’s get started!
#1: Before You Begin… Safety First
Creating paper snowflakes is a fun project for you and your kids because everyone gets to use their imagination—and scissors. There’s something inherently fascinating to kids about cutting things up, isn’t there?
Now’s a good time to review scissor safety with your children. Even if your kids are older, have them listen to the rules as well so they can be good role models for the younger ones.
Make sure everyone knows that scissors are a tool, not a toy. Scissors shouldn’t be used to cut anything besides the paper you’ve given to your child.
Remind children to sit down when they’re cutting. It’s important for them to look at the paper as they cut and be sure to keep their fingers out of the way.
Finally, when scissors are not in use, have your children put them down on the table or in their proper storage container (blades facing down).
Did everyone solemnly swear to take scissors seriously? Excellent. Time to make it snow!
#2: Let the Snow Begin!
Spread out one coffee filter on the table.
Fold the filter in half.
Fold the coffee filter in half a second time (in quarters).
Fold the coffee filter in half a third time (in eighths).
Half? Quarters? Eighths? This is a great time to mention the fractions your children are creating!
As you continue to make snowflakes, have your children experiment by folding a filter fewer times (stick with quarters) or more times (sixteenths).
Which fractions have the best results?
#3: Make Your Flake
Have your children make a few cuts in the filter.
Let them open the snowflake to see how those cuts created a design. Prepare to be amazed!
Ask your children some questions to help them learn how the cuts change their snowflakes.
- What happens when you cut off part of the outside edge of the coffee filter?
- What happens when you cut off the tip of the folded coffee filter?
- What happens when you cut out shapes and unfold the snowflake?
As you and your kids have fun with your snowflakes, remind them that it’s perfectly acceptable to experiment with different kinds of cuts to see how they affect the snowflake’s final design.
Let your children make “mistakes.” This is how they learn about the role of folding the coffee filter and symmetry in the snowflake.
As your children practice, they’ll have a better feel for what works and what doesn’t.
#4: Challenge Round: Symmetry, Shapes and Letters
When the kids have a few snowflakes under their belts, give them new challenges and discuss the idea of symmetry.
If you draw a line through a shape and you can see the mirror image of that shape on either side of the line, it is symmetrical.
To create symmetry in a paper snowflake, you can cut half of a shape into the side(s) of a folded coffee filter.
After your child makes the cuts, ask him or her to open the snowflake and show you the result!
Can your kids create a circle? Square? What about a triangle? Or a heart?
How many different shapes can they cut out of one snowflake?
Shapes are pretty cool, but what if you could hide a secret message in a snowflake? You can!
Have your child help you list which letters of the alphabet are symmetrical (for example, H, I, M, A, O, and W).
What words do those letters make? Try to cut one of the words into a snowflake – it may not be as easy as you think!
Cutting letters into a snowflake can be a little tricky. If younger children start to get frustrated, you can step in or ask an older sibling to help.
Below you can see where we cut the top part of H and I in the bottom of our snowflake.
When we opened it up, we had a warm welcome!
Next we cut the letters M and O into the side of a new snowflake.
And ended up with a cool effect: Wow Mom!
Have you introduced your kids to palindromes yet? They’re fun! Palindromes are words that read the same forward or backward (like mom or wow—or racecar!).
#5: Set the Stage
If your family is like mine, you may lose track of time while laughing and creating and end up with a snowdrift of snowflakes! Good thing, too, because what’s a blizzard with no snow?
Let your kids guide you on how to best display their snowy accoutrements. They may have some fun ideas about what indoor snowfall should look like.
If they need a jumpstart, you can suggest any of the following as prime places to show off their work.
Windows are fun because paper snowflakes filter light during the day, and contrast nicely with the dark sky at night.
You can surprise someone special by decorating a bedroom or closet door with snowflakes.
Tie strings to the snowflakes and hang them from the ceiling to make it look likes it’s really snowing inside!
Since it’s snowing now, you and your kids can build a snow fort out of chairs and blankets, then stock it with books to read as you’re snowed in. (There are book recommendations at the end of the article.)
Be sure to invite your children’s favorite stuffed animals to join you. You don’t want them getting caught in the storm!
#6: More Snow-Themed Fun
At this point, your crew may be ready for a break—or they may be ready for more! Just because you have the snowflakes made doesn’t mean the fun has to end. (If it is time for a break, you can keep these ideas in mind for another day.)
You and your children can use your flakes to brighten a friend’s day or create a year-round reminder of your day together. Or you can help your children find close-up pictures of real snowflakes and compare them to your creations.
Wouldn’t it be fun to get a snowflake card if you lived in a warmer climate? Have your kids glue newly minted snowflakes onto a construction paper card. Then they can write a note, color the snowflake or draw a picture and send the card off to a friend or family member.
While regular snowflakes are delicate things that melt, you and your kids can enjoy your paper snowflakes all year!
Have your children choose their favorite snowflakes (one for each family member), then put the snowflakes between two pieces of clear contact paper to create a placemat.
In the heat of the summer, bring out your snowflake placemats and dream of winter’s cooler temperatures and your inside snow day!
Even as an adult, I’m amazed by the beauty of individual snowflakes. Share that wonder with your kids by looking at real snowflake photos. Show them how the ice crystals refract light and look like they have color. Let your kids use watercolors to paint their snowflakes to look like real ice crystals.
If you’re finally ready to be in the snow instead of making the snow, catch snowflakes on black paper to look at their shapes. The fun here is the challenge to see the snowflake shapes before they melt! How do they compare to the ones you made together?
#7: Story Time
What better way to end a snowy craft than with a story and a good cuddle under a warm blanket?
Here are a few book suggestions to finish out the snow theme:
- The Snowman Storybook by Raymond Briggs (ages 3–7)
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (ages K–up)
- Snow by Uri Shulevitz (ages 3–7)
- Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (ages 3-8)
- The Mitten adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett (ages 4–8)
- The Adventures of Nicholas adapted by Helen Siiteri (mid-elementary children)
And here’s a classic poem about a winter wonderland, written by the aptly named Robert Frost. Your kids may like to act out the poem with stuffed animals.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind on downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Some Final Thoughts…
As you look around at your newly created (and cozy) winter wonderland, give a hot chocolate toast to your kids for their hard work and imagination.
Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back too. You didn’t just make a craft, you made it snow inside and braved the winter storm in a fort.
Wouldn’t it be fun to revisit this adventure when the tables are turned and it’s too hot to go outside?
What do you think? Have you created some amazing snowflakes? Do you have additional ideas for indoor snow adventures? Share your photos, ideas and comments below!
Jessica Kite loves planning adventures with her husband and two daughters. She also enjoys music adventures as a part-time music professor, handbell choir director and piano teacher. Other posts by Jessica Kite »