Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rainbow Spaghetti

This awesome sensory activity seems to be taking Pinterest by storm right now. If you follow anyone on there who pins children's activities I bet you've seen this at least once, if not a half a dozen times. For the record, this has been on my to do list for months now, so I had the idea before it became a fad. In fact this is one of that activities that's been on my list of things to do ever since I was taking Early Childhood Ed classes in college, and it was really fun to finally get around to giving it a go. 
 The first pin I saw about this has some brief instructions on how to dye your pasta. Basically, you cook it in salted water (I didn't use any salt and it was fine) and strain it like you would normally do with pasta. Then you put in a bit of oil to prevent sticking and some food coloring and viola! She didn't say how much oil or food coloring to use, so I just winged it. I knew that less oil would probably be better, at least when it came to clean up, so I added just a tiny bit at a time. I don't know how much I added, but it wasn't all that much. I decided to try doing the dying in a plastic bag to contain the mess, but that was a mistake. You can't spread the food coloring around evenly and it just doesn't produce the results you probably want for this. What ended up working the best was putting the noodles back into the pot they'd cooked in and stirring the food coloring in that way. SO much easier and more effective. Just be prepared to use WAY more food coloring than you expect to. Food coloring is pretty potent stuff, and a drop can go a long way, but not when you're dying pasta. Now I know for next time.
I dyed the noodles in small batches to get all the different colors, and as I finished each one I dumped it into a plastic bin for the kids to explore. Of course this is what happened first. Good thing it's completely edible!
I was worried that the oil mixed with the food coloring would make an especially hard-to-wash-out mixture, so I put one of Erik's old shirts over Paisley's cute outfit to try to prevent irreparable damage. Not as cute, but much more practical. 

Both kiddos dug in and had a great time. This kept them both occupied for about half an hour (which is really saying something!) and we only stopped because the eating business was getting a little out of hand. 

 I buried toys in the noodles for the two of them to dig for, and they thought it was great. Just make sure that if you do that, they are toys you can wash with hot soapy water to get the oil off.
Both babies LOVED this, and it kept them happy for longer than anything else we've done so far. This is definitely something we will be doing again because it is so quick, cheap, and attention grabbing. 

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