This idea can be used in a number of areas. We used this idea to teach shapes and letters. Boil some long spaghetti noodles and let the children play with them in a small group. You can show them that the spaghetti will make different shapes. Let the children decide what shape they want the noodle to be in. (You can have shapes already cut out or traced on a paper so they can form the shape easily.) Let the noodles sit out in open air for a while. Surprise… you have shaped noodles!
Pasta Necklaces: Dye rigatoni pasta different colors (red, blue, yellow, etc.) using a mixture of rubbing alcohol and food coloring in separate plastic Ziploc bags or bowls. Leave the pasta in the mixture until it is the desired brightness of color. Then drain the pasta and allow it to dry (on plates covered with paper towels). After the pasta dries, the children can string the rigatoni onto long pieces of yarn, and the teacher can tie the yarn in a knot, as the children finish, to make a necklace. Tip – Tape one end of the yarn to the table in front of the child to prevent the noodles from slipping off the end of the yarn as the child strings the pasta.
Spaghetti Painting: Cook a pound of spaghetti and toss it with a little oil so it won’t stick together. Give each child a hand full and have them dip the spaghetti into pie tins of paint, then place it onto construction paper. If they don’t want to use their hands, have them use tongs. It looks really cool and it’s okay if they mix the colors!
Boil spaghetti noodles, and 1/4 cup of oil as directed on package. Allow pasta to cool, then place in large ziploc bag with liquid watercolor or food color. Mix around until all the pasta is colored. Put pasta in tubs for children to play with or practice using scissors. Give children white construction paper. Have child place some colored spaghetti on the paper, press down gently, then remove. This makes a beautiful picture, and is a good sensory activity for the children!
A fun activity we love to do is to used cooked spaghetti to paint with. Put some in different colors of paint and encourage children to use the spaghetti to make designs on their paper! Lots of fun with cool results!
Quick tip before you start: The easiest way to paint the pasta white is to add a small amount of white paint and some uncooked pasta to a Ziploc baggie and shake.
Draw a Medium sized circle on a piece of sturdy paper. This will be used as a guideline. The children glue the white pasta inside the circle and can even extend outside the circle if they wish. Stress that all snowflakes are different.
Boil “cheap” spaghetti in water with food coloring added to it. Do not add oil. Cook the noodles until they are quite soft, the starchier the better. Drain, but don’t rinse. The cooled spaghetti will stick to paper and will dry in funny shapes. Great sensory activity!
Buy different shapes of pasta. You can find cool shapes at Michaels Craft Store, Trader Joes, and sometimes other specialty shops. Most of these types of pasta are already colored. You can also buy small pasta shapes in the Mexican Food section of your store. Gamesa puts out several shapes such as stars, abc’s, etc.
If you want to color the plain pasta, you can do so by using a mixture of alcohol and food coloring (teacher does this). Let your pasta dry. Encourage the children to make a collage of the different pasta using glue and construction paper.