I am constantly on the hunt for affordable craft supplies to use in counseling lessons and small groups. I troll the dollar aisles of all my favorite stores squirreling away supplies for the perfect lesson. After a visit to a Pre-K classroom decorated with beautiful, unique coffee filter snowflakes, I expanded my craft supply search to the kitchen aisle! Coffee filters are the perfect, affordable supply to jazz up your counseling lessons. Here are 5 ways that I use these dual-purpose gems:
Talk about peer pressure
Supplies: 2 coffee filters, permanent markers, washable markers, water spray bottle
Color one coffee filter with permanent markers and one with washable markers. Permanent marks represent strong statements standing up to peer pressure (“No, that’s not for me,” or “No, I’m not interested”). Washable marks represent weak statements standing up to peer pressure (“Um, not today” or “Nah I don’t think so”). Spray both coffee filters with the water bottle and watch what happens. The permanent marks (strong statements) don’t bleed or run while the washable marks (weak statements) bleed and run into one another. When we have strong statements standing up to peer pressure, we are less likely to give in or be swayed to do something we don’t want to do. When we have weak or no statements to stand up to peer pressure, we might be more easily swayed into doing things we aren’t comfortable doing just to blend in!
Talk about coping skills
Supplies: coffee filter, string, 2 equally-weighted figurines
Tie strings around one figurine’s hands and tape to the coffee filter to create a parachute. Drop both figurines at the same time and ask students to note the difference in the falling pattern. When we don’t have any tools that help us manage or deal with tough situations, it can feel like we’re free-falling. But when we have skills that help us deal with tough experiences in our lives, it’s like having a parachute: we can glide down and land on our feet!
Talk about growth
Supplies: coffee filters (one per student), washable markers, clothespins (one per student), pipe cleaners
As a termination activity in a self-esteem small group, students write words or draw pictures to represent how they felt about themselves at the beginning of group. Spray the coffee filters with water and watch the words fade into something beautiful! Pinch the coffee filter in the middle and clip with a clothespin. Add pipe cleaner antennae to create a beautiful, transformed butterfly!
Talk about diversity
Supplies: Coffee filter, washable markers, water spray bottle
Draw lines on a coffee filter using skin-colored markers in separate areas. Communities can function when everyone looks the same or believes the same thing as their neighbors. Spray with water. But when our communities are made up of people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and ideals working together, the community is a much more beautiful place where we all contribute new ideas and can positively influence and challenge one another to expand our worldview!
Introduce thought filtering
Supplies: cup, rubber band, water pitcher, sand/dirt
Place a coffee filter over a cup and secure it with a rubber band. Place sand/dirt on top of the coffee filter. The sand/dirt represents negative thoughts/self-talk. Pour water over the sand/dirt. Water represents our positive/neutral thoughts. The coffee filter keeps the negative thoughts from circulating in our minds and bringing us down while it permits positive thoughts to fill our minds!
What nontraditional supplies are you using in your counseling program? Let us know what other aisles we should be visiting!
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