Learning through play with dry pasta

Playing with different types of dry pasta is a great way to engage a child’s imagination. Simply set out an area, some different-sized non-breakable bowls, bottles with lids and a colander, and hand out a few different types of pasta (don’t forget the spaghetti and penne)! You could also get crafty with paper, string, paint and glue.

How a child can play with pasta

  • Encourage your child to place the spaghetti through the holes of the colander – don’t worry if it snaps!
  • Ask them to fill up all the plastic containers with pasta using their hands. Then tip it all back out!
  • Allow your child to make up their own pasta recipes by mixing the different types in different combinations.
  • Make a rattle by placing just a few pieces of pasta inside a bottle and securing the lid. Shake away!
  • Thread as many pieces of penne pasta onto a piece of spaghetti as you can.
  • Mix all the different types of pasta together, then sort them back into individual piles.
  • You could also over cook the spaghetti, let it cool and then add a few drops of food colouring. This is an extra sensory way to play!
  • Make a pasta bracelet by threading pieces onto string and tying into a loop. Your child could paint the dry pasta pieces.
  • Make a pasta collage using all different types of dry pasta, of different colours if possible, by sticking them onto a sheet of paper. Your child could make patterns, such as stripes of pasta across the paper.

Threading the pasta through the holes in the colander is especially good for developing fine motor skills as children concentrate on fitting the long, thin pieces through a small area. They’ll be developing control as they reach to pick up small individual pieces, too. This kind of play is great for encouraging creativity and imagination as well as exploration through the senses.

If you've enjoyed this Learning through Play activity, take a look at Preparing Food Activities, Playing with Sand and Make a Suncatcher.

3+ years
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