In our latest Connections box, Fall Fun, there is a bag of shaped pasta for you to enjoy with your child, along with some suggestions of ways to use it. Of course, you can always cook it for fun meal, adding butter, cheese or meat but, there are many other fun ways to use uncooked pasta in ways that kids will enjoy. I’ve listed a few below.
SORTING - At first glance, this seems pretty basic, but you can find so many different ways to sort things that it really is appropriate for all young children. You might try mixing together several different types of pasta for even more options. With very young children, first try sorting it by color or by shape. Depending on what type of pasta you are using, you might be able to sort it by length as well. Older kids can sort shaped pasta (fall leaves, vehicles, etc.) by function or by features.
Kids love it when they can be in charge from time to time, so try switching roles—Let THEM come up with ideas of how to sort it and YOU do the sorting.
MOVING PASTA - Use a clothes pin or chip clip (which are sometimes easier for small hands) to grasp the pieces of pasta and move them to another location. Encourage your child to only use one hand for this activity, if possible. Not only is it fun, but it is also a great way to build up strength in those small muscles that are used for writing.
PATTERNS - As long as you have at least 2 different shapes/types/colors you can make patterns. (Remember that a pattern must repeat itself over and over.) With very young children, start with a simple AB pattern, saying it as you go. (Ex: leaf, pumpkin, leaf, pumpkin, leaf . . . ) Then ask “What comes next?” Now, try 2 in a row—AABB; Let your children come up with other patterns. You may be surprised to find that they come up with some you had never noticed.
BEADING - Many types of pasta have some sort of hole that you can use for beading. Using yarn, your child can thread the pasta to make necklaces, bracelets, etc. To make it easier, I always wrap a piece of tape around one end of the yard to make it stiff enough to pass through the holes. If you have any pipe cleaner/chenille stems on hand, young children might find it easier to thread the pasta onto it.
PLAY-DOH - Set out a small bowl of uncooked pasta with your child’s play doh so that they can add it to their sculptures. Pasta is perfect for birthday candles on a play-doh cake, turrets on a play-doh castle, legs on a bird, etc.
PICTURES - With just a bit of glue, pasta can be used to make all kinds of cool pictures. The
shaped pasta that is included in this Connections box, is perfect for gluing onto paper to create a fall scene or even just a collage. Other shapes can be used for other types of scenes and ANY pasta can be used to make something creative. Try making a kite from pieces of spaghetti, or how about a house.
NAMES - On a piece of stiff paper (card stock or construction paper) write your child’s name in large block letters. Let your child glue pieces of pasta on the lines to make their name.
3D SCULPTURES - This time, encourage your children to build a 3-D picture/sculpture with the
pasta, gluing the pieces in place. It is helpful to use a thicker paper or cardboard as the base,
but it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, especially since they will be covering it with glue and
pasta. Can they make a building? Or how about a tall tower? Let them experiment with ways to make sure it is stable.
Have fun with pasta that you have around the house and if you want some fun shaped pasta, check out our latest subscription box over in the SHOP. You can choose a 6- or 12-month subscription or just buy a single box!