One of our neighbors came to our house a few weeks ago with a big box of food to see if we wanted any of it. The catch was all of it was past its expiration date. I dug through the box and found a few things that I thought would still be safe to consume or that could be re-purposed and let her do with the rest as she saw fit. Among other things we got some cans of sweetened condensed milk to make edible glossy paint to share with our play group friends and a few small bags of decaf coffee.
I will admit that we are not coffee drinkers around here. I'm not aware of having ever had coffee to drink in my life, and I don't really care for the smell. So why would I keep the coffee? Well, there are all kinds of ideas going around online for ways to play with coffee grounds, such as "mud" play dough, home made fossils, worms and dirt sensory bins, paint, and so much more. I thought we'd give some of them a shot, so I hung on to that old expired coffee.
My plan was to start with some simple writing practice then move up to a sensory bin for both kids, then maybe some playdough. This was going to fill up several days worth of activity time, all with only using one material and a free (to us) one at that!
For the writing practice, I just dumped a couple of packages of ground coffee onto a baking sheet and we had fun drawing designs and practicing writing the letter C.
Finally, we gave up the attempt to get used to the smell. I emptied the remaining packets of coffee onto the tray and took it all outside to the garden. In a few months our veggie plants will thank us for the treat.
Now, I do have to say the really gritty feel of the coffee was a fun texture, and if we could have gotten past the smell we would have had a lot of fun with this one. If you happen to be one of the majority of our society who does enjoy coffee then I'd encourage you to give this one a try, either with unused ground coffee or the leftovers from the making of your morning cup (dry the grounds in the oven at the lowest possible temp).