This ultimate guide to spaghetti play has full tutorials for creating rainbow spaghetti sensory play, how to dye pasta, and STEM activities using macaroni. Learn how to make easy homemade rainbow pasta for baby or even school aged kids. Use alcohol to create dyed noodles for crafts.
Today let’s play spaghetti three ways with my ultimate guide to spaghetti play!
1. RAINBOW SPAGHETTI
This first is one of my favorite, delicious, frugal, and fun sensory activities for the kids. It’s simple, quick, and fun. I know from experience that kids all the way up until 29 (cough cough… me) have so much fun with this simple messy activity. Let’s all be creative Italian’s for the day and make some rainbow spaghetti together!
It really could not be any simpler. First cook a package of spaghetti. Normally I’m a bit of a stickler about getting my family to eat the whole wheat variety, but I make an exception for this spaghetti play activity. The results just aren’t quite as colorful or impressive with the more hearty and healthy variety. (Rice noodles totally work too and provide a different texture and taste so give that a try as well!)
Then separate the al dente product into as many different dishes as colors you’d like to make. Add a few drops of food coloring to each and stir, stir, stir. You’ll have a beautiful and irresistible food fun activity in no time!
I always take ours to the bathtub. I’d rather give the tub a nice good cleaning with BAKING SODA (follow that link for over 10 mind blowing things to use baking soda for) than cleaning up the entire dining room. A kiddie pool would be another fun option if we had a yard. But living in an apartment, dragging that thing downstairs and doing a cleanup down there just doesn’t sound as fun to me. Plus then the girls are anxious for their bath to get all the rainbow starchiness off their faces and bodies. I hope you have as much fun as we always do with this. As we revisit this sensory play again and again.
2. RAINBOW MACARONI ART
I remember doing this easy craft a lot in elementary school. Well macaroni art at least, never rainbow! Do kids still do macaroni art? As a homeschool mom I don’t know if this is incorporated any more but if not it should be! Living in Washington has made me wrack my mind for all kinds of rainy day activities and for some reason the best ones always come from the kitchen.
First lets make some vibrantly colored noodles! To dye macaroni without cooking it is a little more time consuming but still super simple! Place the noodles (I like to use a bunch of different shapes but you definitely don’t have to! This time we used penne) into seperate ziplock baggies for each color you’d like to make. Next add food coloring and a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Not too much, just enough to coat the noodles. Seal the baggies and work all that beautiful color around. Let it sit for up to an hour to soak up the dye.
After that you simply drain the excess liquid out of the bag. Put a whole bunch of paper towels down and spread the noodles flat across them. The alcohol evaporates very quickly so in a couple hours you’ll have amazingly bright rainbow noodles! Oh ya, USE GLOVES to remove the noodles from the bags. I didn’t and turned out like the photo on the right. Which made a super cool picture but REALLY?! So excessive.
The last step is to find some cardboard or craft foam and white school glue and let the kids’ creativity run wild gluing their own beautiful art together. Find a place to dry it can lay flat or the noodles will slide off. Once dry hang your colorful new piece of art made by your own precious little hands!
(I decided to throw beans into the dye mixture too to see what would happen and was really happy with the results! Here are some lima, lentils, garbanzos, and orca beans. The lentils are my favorite, they absorbed the color really well and I’ll definitely be dying them again for more sensory play and crafts. The lentils are Rose’s favorite as you could peel them and split them in half and get this really cool colored print inside. It kind of reminded me of a geode.)
3. SPAGHETTI STRUCTURES
This is not my own idea but it’s a super simple, affordable, and fun activity that any age can enjoy on different levels! I’ve never even thought of using spaghetti noodles to build a structure! Follow this: STEM Spaghetti Structures and head over to an amazingly fun science play idea from Science Sparks! They show that using mini marshmallows and spaghetti you can let your little one build whatever they can imagine!
What a clever, creative, and easy way to play! You can easily switch out mini marshmallows for gumdrops too for a more colorful experience, but I think the marshmallows are definitely easier for little hands to push the noodles through without breaking them. I’ve seen so many pictures of amazing huge structures with this. I thought it was kind of hard actually, they kept collapsing. Still totally worth it though.
I hope you now have days of fun noodle activities planned! It was fun sharing these crafty, sensory, sciency (not a word… should be) ideas with you today! And please pin this for later! Don’t forget to stop by 4 ways to make the sensory sensation moonsand and how to make 5 awesome crafts for only $4 at the Dollar Tree for tons of other great play ideas! And you MUST read 101 creative, free, fun things to do with your kids today for a list of utter inspiration.
What other great play activities using spaghetti do you have? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below for some new exciting ideas!