Some of the best toys are the free ones. Pasta became one of those unexpected “play supplies” in our house. Please tell me I am not the only parent who discovered a box of pasta – far past it’s expiration date – in the back of my pantry! Time to put that pasta to use! Here are some ideas of ways that you can play with your old pasta. For starters though, you’ll want to check out our first post, Macaroni Art. We explain how to dye your noodles – colored pasta is more fun!
Pasta Sensory Bin
It was only a matter of time until the macaroni became a sensory bin. The hands went in, the macaroni spilled out, and lots of fun was had. My son started by mixing with his hands, then some wooden spoons. He pretended it was raining macaroni and dropped handfuls from the sky. He poured the noodles through empty paper towel tubes and then, of course, the construction trucks came out. The whole container got turned over so the trucks could push, scoop, dump, bulldoze, and transport. We have done this type of activity many times before with rice and popcorn kernels, but the different shaped and colored pastas provided a totally new experience.
As we started cleaning up our macaroni mess, I provided my son with an empty tray that I saved from the last time we made frozen pigs in a blanket (aka mini hot dogs) for a snack. This tray provided the perfect opportunity for sorting the macaroni (but ice cube trays would work as well). The noodles could be sorted into different categories including shape, color, and/or size. My son chose colors, but he also chose to do large and small and not worry about the specific shapes of the pasta.
In addition to gluing your dyed pasta to paper, you can, depending on the shapes you chose, also now make some divine jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets, anklets, etc. can be made by threading the noodles onto a piece of string or lanyard. Put a knot at one end of your string and then tape that end to your table.
It's amazing to see little eyes and fingers at work as your child carefully passes the string through the noodle. When finished, put a knot at the other end and then tie both ends together. Children love wearing (and sharing) the jewelry they make.