Art with pasta is a cornerstone of childhood. Many of us can look back fondly on school projects featuring glued macaroni, “beaded” pasta necklaces, and afternoons whiled away finding the perfect pasta shape to finish a masterpiece. With such versatility and low cost, it’s no wonder that pasta is a perennial favorite for school teachers and therapists the word over.
But pasta right out of the box can be a little… well, boring. And that’s where this little recipe for colored pasta comes in handy. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Uncooked pasta (any kind will do – although for the optimal sensory experience, look for different sizes, shapes, and textures)
- Food coloring
- Plastic zipper seal bags
- Baking sheets (I lined mine ahead of time with waxed paper)
Begin by portioning your pasta into the zipper bags. This was a great activity for Little Miss – who really got down to business with scooping and shoveling the pasta.
Allow a little extra time for this stage of the process because feeling the dried pasta in your hands can be a great sensory experience. You can also help your kids develop their sensory vocabulary by asking how the pasta feels. For example:
- Is the pasta bumpy or smooth?
- Does the pasta feel hard or soft?
- Are the edges smooth (like macaroni) or jagged (like bow tie pasta)?
- Do you like the way the pasta feels?
Once the pasta is portioned, it’s time to add in the coloring ingredients. Add 2 teaspoons of vinegar and 8-12 drops of food coloring to the pasta in the bag and seal it. Then, shake the bag gently to coat the pasta evenly in color.
TIP: If you have really energetic shakers, you may want to double-bag the pasta!
Allow the pasta to set in the food coloring/vinegar mixture for 5-10 minutes. You should notice that most of the liquid has been absorbed into the pasta.
NOTE: You may need to rotate the bags a bit to get an even color.
After the pasta color has soaked in, empty the bags onto your baking sheets. Arrange pasta in a single layer (so it does not stick to each other) and allow to air dry (this can take up to 24 hours, depending on humidity. In my experience, the pasta was usually dry within 6-8 hours).
Then, it’s time to get crazy and creative – pasta style! Not sure what to do with your finished pasta? Then be sure to check back for part two of this post — I’ll share some of our favorite colored pasta inspired activities.
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