Happy Spring! Happy Easter! I hope your plans for the weekend involve kids in bow ties and peach ruffles, candy before breakfast, and maybe some sort of brunch situation. I hope they don’t involve having to wear winter coats to church. We can dream, right?
If your family is anything like mine, you probably have dying eggs on the agenda this week. Did you know you can use your egg dyes to make fun rainbow pasta perfect for crafting and playtime? Those little kits are inexpensive and easy to use and this is a different way to get a little extra mileage out of them. You’ve got the kitchen table covered with newspaper already anyway – because kids and stains and watch your elbows! – so why not have a little extra fun?!
Once you’ve finished dying your eggs, raid your pantry for some fun pasta shapes and get coloring! You will need:
- Dried pasta pieces in any shapes you like
- Newspaper or a couple old towels
- Slotted spoons
Transfer the egg dyes to shallower bowls than those used to dye the eggs (this makes it easier to get the pasta in and out) and mix all the pasta shapes you plan to use together in a large bowl. You can make as much or as little as you like. Carefully drop small handfuls of pasta into each bowl and stir to make sure everything is covered. Let sit for at least 15 minutes (longer if you want really vibrant colors). Using a slotted spoon, remove the pasta from the dye and spread it out on the newspaper or towel. Allow to dry completely (this will take a few hours) and it’s ready to go.
Now, this probably goes without saying, but these little noodles are probably best left to those kids who are beyond the put-all-the-things-in-my-mouth phase and understand they are not food. My daughter is two and much better about keeping stuff out of her mouth these days but I still don’t let her play with these unless I am very closely supervising. And then I store them up out of her reach when we’re done just to be safe. Use your own judgement when it comes to your kids – Mama knows best! Now onto some fun uses for your pretty pasta.
sorting and transferring
My two year old loves to take things from one container and put them in another. Cups to bowls, pots to pans and then back again. These colorful noodles are perfect for that. Kids can sort them by color or by shape. They can line them up in patterns or dump them in bowls and cups of various sizes. My kid has a great time hollering out the names of the colors as she places the pasta into a muffin tin. Hours of (relatively quiet) fun!
A little old school, but still fun and creative. My kid loves, and I mean LOVES, jewelry of all kinds. She has a blast with her “noodle beads” and gets very into threading them onto a string. It’s a great activity for fine motor skill development and she has a little something special of her own creation to wear around. Let’s not talk about the epic fit she throws when it was time to take it off and take a nap.
Encourage kids to get creative by turning the pasta in small works of art. What do the pasta shapes look like? Butterflies? Curly hair? Flowers? Grab some index cards or card stock, glue, and other crafting supplies you have hanging around and see what kind of things they can come up with. Write the names of your guests on the cards and you have fun, creative place cards for your holiday tables this weekend. Full disclosure – my two year old didn’t help with these – but older kids will have a blast stretching those creative muscles and being pasta artists.
Hit the play kitchen and make a fabulously funky pasta party for all the teddy bears in the house. Search out buried pirates treasure from the bottom of the kitchen sink. Decorate a castle in the sandbox. Or glue “jewels” to a cardboard crown. The possibilities are endless!
The fun kids can have with their noodles is limited only by their imaginations – and we all know those are bigger than life. This is an inexpensive way to bring some color and creativity to playtime at home. Happy dying!
How would you and your kids use your own colored pasta?