Fun with Fingerprints

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For this project, I thought that it would be fun to do a little science and a little art.  My sister told me that she heard you could make cute Valentine’s cards using fingerprints.  I’ve also been told that it’s pretty easy to lift fingerprints using scotch tape, so I thought we’d give it a try.  All you need for the science part is paper, scotch tape and a pencil.  For the valentines, you need an ink pad, paper and markers.  You could also make great Halloween pictures with fingerprint bats or holiday cards with fingerprint snowpeople.

On www.wikieducator.org/Fabulous_Forensic_Fingerprints, I found a technique that works well, even for very young children.  Simply take a pencil and scribble on a piece of paper until a small area is covered with the graphite from the pencil lead.  Have your child rub his or her finger around in the graphite until it is covered with gray.  Then, have your child carefully place their finger on the sticky side of a piece of scotch tape.  Have them lift their finger off of the tape.  A clear fingerprint should be visible.  Place the tape face-down on another piece of paper. 

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Your child can then inspect the fingerprint under a magnifying glass, or just with their naked eye.  If you go to the wiki website I mentioned, your child can decipher whether they think their fingerprint is a whorl, a loop, or an arch.  It would be fun to have them trace their hand, fingerprint each finger and thumb, and tape their fingerprints to the appropriate finger.  This would be a great addition to their science notebooks!  I’ve found that their notebooks are great keepsakes of their drawings and observations at different ages.  The kids had a lot of fun with this project and could do it unassisted once I showed them what to do.

For the Valentines, have your children put two fingerprints or thumbprints together in the shape of a heart.  Of course, they will also want to make fish, bugs, and who knows what else?  I gave my kids some ideas to get them started and they went from there! They can decorate with markers.  It’s lots of fun!  We got our stamp pads at Creative Kidstuff, but you can find them almost anywhere.  There are few better things than a homemade Valentine!  Have your kids make them for the people they love!

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