Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SCENTED Rainbow Spaghetti

(28 Months)

Dyed spaghetti is one of the most inexpensive, versatile and fun ways to practice honing our fine motor skills, while engaged in sensory play with the slippery, slimy, shiny strands of pasta.  Instead of just making rainbow pasta, we added some delicious extracts to enhance the sensory experience.  Scented rainbow spaghetti!
Easy peasy steps to making rainbow pasta:
Cook pasta according to directions, minus one minute - to make sure it's not too soft
Drain pasta
Add one tablespoon of light cooking oil to prevent sticking - we used canola oil
Swirl around the pasta with the oil
Separate the pasta into as many bowls as you want to make colors - my kidabunks chose pink, blue, yellow and green
Add six or seven drops of food dye to each of the bowls of pasta, toss to coat - the kids loved watching the pasta change into whichever color they were working with at the time.  I let them use their hands to mix the dye into the pasta, it will temporarily stain their hands though.
Now for the scents- we added 1/4 tsp of almond extract to the "pink, pink, pink" (pasta) as Little Miss calls it
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract to the yellow pasta
1 tsp of left over coffee to the blue pasta
1/2 tsp of cinnamon to the green pasta
The kidabunks loved everything about the rainbow pasta.  They loved watching the dried pasta go from hard, straight strands to the soft and pliable spaghetti.  They oohed and aaahhed as the steam rose into the air when I drained the pasta.  When I divided the pasta into the different bowls, they noticed that it was still steamy so they started blowing on it (so cute).  Wild One noticed that his "BIG" metal mixing bowl was warm, but his sister's big plastic mixing bowl wasn't (humph, leave it to the two-year old to add a bit of science to this part of the activity).  The part they liked the best was definitely the mixing in of the colors.  I'm so glad I didn't prepare this during nap time, they really enjoyed that part.  I loved when they were sniffing the pasta, and hearing the mmmmm sounds.

When it was time to play with the pasta, we cleared off the art table and their play kitchen work areas.  I set out two pots/pans for each of them, plus we put a pair of tongs in each of the rainbow pasta bowls.  They had so much fun pretending to cook, transferring it (sometimes with tongs, sometimes with their fingers sometimes with a pasta fork) from one bowl to another, mixing colors, separating strands, feeling the slippery texture of the strands, noticing that the strands break when pulled apart.  We played with the pasta for almost an hour!  An hour!  The kids smelled delicious after playing with this for so long. As you can see from the big smile, this was a H-U-G-E hit!
To store it, I placed it in ziplock bags.  The next time we play (probably tomorrow), we'll add some glow sticks and water beads.  I'm looking forward to eventually painting with the spaghetti.  Can you tell that we really liked this activity?


  1. Colored pasta is always so simple, yet so fun! I love how you incorporated the children throughout the entire process, and how you brought some scents into the mix! Now that is some fun sensory play!!

  2. We love our spaghetti play and making prints with it! hadn't thought of adding fragrance to the sensory experience though! They look like they are having so much fun!