I’ve been running a parent-toddler play class and am loving all of the wonder and learning that comes with this age. Along with helping kids develop social skills and answering parent questions, one of my main goals is to get the kids playing in new and novel ways with everyday items.
Last week I did a sensory activity for toddlers that was not only beautiful, but had both the parents and the kids oohing and ahh-ing for the whole hour and a half class!
I have been wanting to try dyed spaghetti for ages so I decided to give it a try. I raided my cabinets. No spaghetti. Instead I found some Asian rice noodles that have been lurking in the back of the pantry for ages. A search through the art bin turned up some non-toxic liquid watercolor left over from the kid’s art class that I taught a couple of summers ago. Viola!
The noodles colored much more vibrantly than I had expected and we didn’t have any problem with color transfer onto little hands or clothing. The only mess was a light film of vegetable oil on the hands and surfaces. The mess to fun ration was totally worth it and easy to clean.
For setup, I just put a plastic tablecloth on the floor, plopped a plastic covered kiddie table on top and “served” the kids the noodles in a wooden bowl. Since they were on-hand, I threw in some baby pumpkins left over from Halloween for them to discover underneath!
The whole class (including parents) flocked to the bowl. All had fun squishing the noodles, picking them up with utensils and clothespins (great fine motor skill play) and feeding each other a rainbow noodle feast!
Dying Noodles At Home
If you’d like to try rainbow noodles you probably have all of the ingredients on hand. All you need is spaghetti or asian rice noodles, liquid watercolor paint (food coloring works too and makes these edible) and vegetable oil.
- Prepare spaghetti or rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
- Put back in the pot and toss with just enough vegetable oil to coat lightly. Keep them in the pot if you are just going to use one color or separate the noodles into separate bowls (one for each color.)
- Add a squirt of liquid watercolor and stir. Keep adding watercolor a bit at a time until the noodles are the desired color.
- Let sit until cool and play!
As you can see from the photos the noodles turned out beautifully! I am not sure about regular spaghetti (which I know a lot of people use) but the beauty of the rice noodles was that they held their shape and didn’t become mushy in play. Plus, they really sucked up the color!
Of course the possibilities are endless. You could put them in a sensory bin, hide treasures inside, or throw them in some water for some slimy fun. A batch should last for at least a week in the fridge.
So what do you think? Pretty cool isn’t it?
If you try this project I’d love to hear how it goes and see your pictures!