It's been quite awhile since we dyed a batch of pasta for art and sensory play, so I decided to put together a pasta rainbow!
Rainbow Pasta - Recipe for Play
The wonderful thing about pasta is that is comes in so many shapes and sizes. Each type of pasta provides a different sensory experience. We've dyed pasta many times before, so for this rainbow pasta I decided to use our three favorite types of pasta: elbow macaroni, rotini, and penne. I bought two boxes of each from Dollar Tree, so I could make six colors of pasta. Another aspect I love about pasta for sensory play is that it lasts for many months and can be played with again and again.
How to Dye Pasta
Directions: We dye our pasta exactly like we dye rice, no alcohol or vinegar is needed. Just coloring and pasta. For this batch I added one box of pasta to a ziploc bag at a time. The boys took turns adding the color. I prefer liquid watercolors since they are brighter and come in a variety of colors. Food coloring can also be used, especially if you have little ones who are likely to taste the pasta.
The next step is my kids' favorite. I seal the baggy carefully, and they shake it as hard as they can. They shake it until all of the color is distributed and covering the pasta. Actually, they generally shake the bag way longer than necessary. I don't blame them. It's makes a cool noise, and it's fun to watch the color spread. Much to their chagrin, I draw the line at throwing the bag.
I completely forgot to take a photo of the next step, but it's an easy one. I spread out the colored pasta on a sheet of wax paper and let it dry. On a hot day, like today, it will dry in a few hours. During colder months, leaving the pasta over night might be necessary. Since I was making a batch of rainbow rice I had six sheets of wax paper on my kitchen counter.
Once all the colors were dry I carefully added them to a sensory bin and invited the boys to play.
I am not kidding when I say that they boys attacked the bin like a pack of wolves. All day long they had been checking on the pasta and asking if it was ready. We mixed it up in the morning and played with it while my husband made dinner, so there were quite a few hours of anticipation building up to this play time.
Any time I make a multicolored sensory material there seems to be a race to see who can mix it up the fastest. I love both the separated colors and the mixed. They are just so beautiful.
Tank (3) cracked me up. He spent a good ten minutes with his head against the side of the bin watching his hand push the pasta around inside. I would love to know what was going on in his head as he played.
As is often the case, the boys climbed right into the bin to feel the pasta with their toes.
More rainbow sensory materials: