Grinding Coffee Beans

Use an old-fashioned coffee grinder to learn about simple machinery, observe a change of materials, smell a fantastic sensory aroma and practise some vital, gross-motor actions! The side bonus is that you get a great fresh cup of coffee too!
Learning Links:
  • Gross motor skill development
  • Observing changes in materials
  • Understanding cause and effect
  • Investigating basic machinery¬†

The other morning my colleague from teaching days came over for coffee and cake and I soon discovered we were out of ground coffee. No problem, as I remembered we have this beautiful, ancient coffee grinder that belonged to my great, great grandmother, and is over 150 years old, sitting on the shelf! Why not get the girls to have a go at grinding some beans and practise those big, rotational motor movements while they’re at it? Double bonus for everyone!


This was also a great opportunity to take a look at old fashioned machines and talk about their design and function, as well as questioning how they actually work.

They tipped the beans in the top and were desperate to have a go at turning the old handle. It was much harder than they expected and a great little work out for those arms and wrists!

Ta da! Pulling open the secret drawer to reveal the ground coffee was a bit magical and promoted some great questions and thinking about how the beans changed shape and “disappeared” while the handle was being turned. I love that something so ancient and special is still working perfectly and providing a lot of pleasure. It says a lot about the poor quality of today’s appliances doesn’t it? And best of all my friend and I got a delicious, freshly made coffee from the product!

Cakie: 3.11
Pop: 2.6
Bean: 6 months

You may also like our post about using a rotary whisk to create coloured sensory soap!


Have you let your little ones explore with machinery or simple appliances before?

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