Feb 23, 2009

Kid Activities with Colored Pasta

This batch of noodles has lasted us around 8 years. We reintroduce the buckets of colored pasta here and there, and each time it receives a warm reception. You can utilize the colored pasta for a variety of activities. There is a wide variety of pasta shapes.

It is excellent at developing their shape and color recognition skills by having them help sort the shapes or colors into separate containers. Be forewarned, however, that you will not want to attempt to engage them in a large sorting project. This sort of activity will hold a toddler's attention for around 15 minutes before they start experimenting with what happens when they pretend to be say a construction machine dropping them from high distances, etc. You will want to introduce a small number of each shape or color for this type of activity.

It is excellent for developing hand-eye coordination via threading applicable shapes onto boot laces. Boot laces work best due to the little plastic tapered ends, their stiffness, and their length.

The nonthreadable shapes are great for miscellaneous art projects, i.e. making pasta art on construction paper with glue.

Buy the largest container you can find of rubbing alcohol so that you can expedite the die process in large batches. You can store them in inexpensive store-brand food containers or in the recycled household containers I shared here.

Ingredients: Rubbing alcohol, food coloring, dried pasta, newspaper/paper towels, and wax paper.

Instructions: Pour the rubbing alcohol into a deep and narrow bowl/container. Add food coloring until a deep hue has been achieved. The longer you allow the pasta to soak, the more color it will absorb for vibrancy. Remove the colored pasta with a slotted spoon and place onto the newspaper/paper towel that is placed atop the wax paper forming a water-proof barrier. Allow to dry overnight or outdoors in the sunlight.

Children of any age past 2 will be able to utilize the pasta in varying age-appropriate ways, but you will want to be sure that the children do not try to eat the pretty pasta. I tasted it myself because I always want to know what the likelihood is that they might eat it.....put it this way, unless you have a child who is seemingly taste-bud devoid, then you should be okay. It tasted horrible.

You will encounter broken pasta shards as people step on them during necklace-making sessions spread out on the floor, so be careful. The shards can sometimes be very sharp. Nobody has yet been cut during the breakage moment itself at our house or after, but I can see that occurring afterward easily. Cleanup is still very easy even on the carpet with hand raking. If you experience excess breakage for some reason, be sure to vacuum thoroughly just in case.

My three-year-old spent an entire hour threading necklaces last night and was pleased as punch at having him and I rotating turns at wearing them. Today he had a great time gluing the shapes onto paper for yet another hour.


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