This Play Invitation explores the big science ideas of constancy and change.

When children make marks on a coffee filter, the marks are constant until water is applied. A change in the mark happens when the pigment disperses into the water and spreads across the filter. The magic of this activity is in the transformation of the dots into spreading colors.

What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation

  • Children have been curious about transformations happening around them;
  • Children are excited about causing or creating change in something;
  • Children have been exploring color mixing, lines, and shapes.

Materials Needed

  • Coffee filters
  • White paper
  • Spray bottles of water
  • Markers

Setting up This Play Invitation

  1. Place the white paper on a table with a coffee filter on top.
  2. Fill the spray bottle with water. Make sure the spray nozzle is set so that the water comes out in a dispersion and not a jet.
  3. Place the markers within the children’s reach.

    Tip: Depending on the marker you use, this activity can stain the surface beyond the piece of paper; to avoid that, you can place the coffee filters in a tray.
Markers, coffee filters, and water materials for invitation

How to Create the Painting

  1. Invite children to make dot designs on the coffee filter with the markers.
  2. Next, let the children spray water on the filter. Watch the magic happen!

    FOR OLDER CHILDREN: Create a mandala with markers and then spray.

How to Nurture the Natural Unfolding of the Child’s Identity During This Play Invitation

  • Children have the right to take their ideas and questions beyond our proposal. Inquiries or investigations involving transformation may require tools and materials that are not always accessible in an early year’s context. The educator should then encourage their intellectual work by offering other materials that allow them to explore the same concepts in a simple and hands-on way.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • LANGUAGE: Develop new vocabulary, using language to share ideas.
  • PHYSICAL: Develop hand strength.
  • SCIENCE: Build awareness of constancy and transformation.
  • ART: Explore color mixing, and discover new materials and tools to express creatively.


  • Bring some fruits to your classroom and set up an investigation table to observe how they transform over time. Add magnifying glasses, along with paper and markers so children can draw their observations.

Book Recommendation

A beautiful book about observing and enjoying seasonal transformations.