A few days ago, with a little bit of free time on my hands, I set out to our new Home Goods store to do a little browsing. It has only been opened a few weeks and the first time I went, it was so crowded that I turned around and left. Fortunately, this time it was different. I got my buggy (just in case, you know) and turned onto the first aisle and Bam! -- there was this cute little bag of vehicle pasta!! With several little grandsons, I knew this would be a hit! There was only one bag, so I threw it in my basket and brought it home with me, anxious to make a little Mac 'n Cheese sometime soon.
Of course, once I got home, the wheels started turning and I thought of all sorts of ways that pasta could be used. Yesterday, L came over and tried out some of the activities. He loves books, loves letters and numbers, loves trains and construction vehicles, but he is not usually too fond of most fine motor activities, so I wasn't sure how long he would stay engaged. But, I was in for a surprise. he LOVED them! My preparation took about 30 seconds, since I just looked in my kitchen to see what might work.
I recently purchase a small divided lunch container that was perfect for this first activity. I poured a few pieces of pasta into one section of the container and gave him a chip-clip magnet.
While I encouraged him to use one hand, his hands are small and sometimes he needed to use both of them to open the clip, but he was able to pick up the pasta and drop them into the other side. (I also encouraged him to use his "helper hand" to hold things still--great pre-writing practice!) I don't know if it was because they were vehicles or what, but I expected him to get tired after one or two Instead, he did them ALL and then wanted to do it again later!
Next, I pulled out a divided plastic tray from the kitchen and poured some of the pasta into the middle slot. After explaining that he could sort them, and giving a quick demonstration of what I meant, he set to work, carefully looking at each vehicle and placing it in the correct section.
He noticed that the wheels on some of them were kind of smushed and made up simple stories about what might have happened to them (got in a wreck, tree falling on it, etc.). A
And, again, he stuck with it until the very end!
Then, he really surprised me. He asked if he could glue some. I grabbed a piece of cardboard I had laying around and some glue and suggested he pick one of each vehicle, but he insisted on gluing them all on.
If you haven't seen this glue before, it is PERFECT for small projects and little hands. I like that you can hold it just like a pencil/crayon, which is good practice, as well and it comes in a pack of three from Dollar Tree.
When I was teaching, I always kept a bundle of these in my car as I drove between schools and now, I find that they are just right for home projects as well. I had been buying a small pack (usually found near the checkout) almost every time I went to Dollar Tree, but they are also available online, as well. 48 packages may seem like a bunch, but you could easily share the shipment with a friend or a classroom.
I was amazed at how focused L was with this little project. His little brother was begging to go outside, but we had to wait until each and every piece of pasta was safely glued onto the board.
There are so many more ways to use this pasta, and there are so many different shapes to choose from, but I will save those ideas for another day. In the meantime, grab some fun pasta, some glue and some kitchen utensils and have some fun! Post a picture on Instagram (#dottodotconnections) or send one via our contact page and show me how you used your shaped pasta.