Need Space Activity: Colored Pasta
This activity does require some earlier prep-work, but that part is fast and easy. The time delay is in waiting for the pasta to dry. Spend 10 minutes when the kids go to sleep at night, and have it ready and waiting for them by morning! Or involve your kids in the prepwork and set them outside with the pasta when it drys (as I did) for double space time!
- Cheapest pasta you can find! Clean out your own kitchen or grab some as a scratch and dent store. Get several different types. Here are some ideas to consider: Noodles that can be strung on string like penne, rigatoni, wheels. Engaging shapes like bowties/farfalle, orecchiette, spirals. Mac and Cheese boxes in fun cartoon shapes.
- Gallon Ziplock bags. Used ziplocking wraps bags will work also, or really anything that won’t leak!
- Food Coloring liquid drops
- Rubbing Alcohol
Divide pasta into bags depending on how many colors you want. I mixed pasta types because as I guessed, my kids loved sorting them!
squirt 1-3 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol in each bag and shake until evenly coated.
Now add your food coloring. I did around 20 drops of each color for a quart of pasta. Shake the bags again to distribute color. If you feel like the color isn’t spreading as easily, add some more rubbing alcohol.
Spread out on cookie sheets and dry outside for a few hours or overnight inside.
I set the pasta outside to dry and booted the kids out with it. They were actually happy to be out there for awhile because it meant they could constantly inspect the pasta for adequate drying. Then I gave my kids quart mason jars to put each color in. This kept them busy for awhile too! I also built them a shallow box out of scrap wood (but a shallow tote or cardboard box works!). I figured this would act like a sand table for them to dump the colored pasta into and play with their toys in. Ironically they so far have liked keeping the colors separate and like to sort the shapes or “trade” colored pieces back and forth. This super simple idea has therefore kept them busy on 3 occasions before they have even dived into playing with it the way I thought they would. In fact, several days later, one is still off playing with it as a type this! The activity that keeps on giving time, with no mess! Love it!