Before I start, let me tell you that I did a poor job executing this easy DIY kids’ play activity. I wanted to make a sensory play day with our plastic storage bin. It’s a great tool for rainy or too hot days when you are stuck inside but need something to break up your routine. I got distracted while cooking my spaghetti and burnt a lot of it. I’m still trying to clean the bottom of the scorched pot. Also, this became very messy because I have a wild child who did not want to keep the fun contained in the plastic bin. But if you’d like to try it out, here are my easy instructions.
1. Buy Lots of Cheap Spaghetti
I went to WalMart and bought 4 pounds of off-brand spaghetti and linguini. I figured the two different thicknesses would be fun.
While you’re at the store, find food dye. I found neat neon colored dye. Ideally, you will want to use organic food-based dye in case your child tries to eat the spaghetti.
2. Cook the Spaghetti
This should be easy. We’ve all cooked spaghetti for many a meal. But I got distracted and started playing with my son and forgot to stir often. Needless to say, I had some burnt pasta on my hands and a huge pot to scrub vigorously. Ugh. Like I needed another dish to linger in the sink.
3. Let it Cool & Place in Plastic Bags
Once the spaghetti was drained and cooled enough to touch, I transferred it into plastic Ziploc bags. I used tongs, which was annoying and time-consuming. Not very effective. It would probably be easier to just use your hands. Yay! You get to get in on the sensory fun, too! I was in a rush, too, so the spaghetti was still fairly hot. Haste makes waste, ya’ll. I ended up putting the spaghetti in the freezer to cool it down more so I wouldn’t burn myself or the plastic bags.
4. Add Food Coloring
This part is fun and when your child can get involved. I squirted a bunch of food coloring into each bag – one color per bag. Since I had 4 colors, I used 4 bags. Close the bag up so that it is thoroughly sealed, then shake and shimmy the pasta around to coat every strand in color. Your little one may enjoy this part the most.
5. Let It Dry and Then Play
To make sure the liquid food dye doesn’t get on everything, you can put your bags back into the freezer for about 10 minutes. Then, empty the bags into your big plastic bin. I put the colors in a row so that we could talk about the colors before they got mixed up. I put my baby right into the tub once he got his hands in for a few minutes and seemed interested. He loved the squishy feel on his toes.
6. Clean Up and Re-Use
After a few minutes in the bin, my little maniac started to chase the dog with fistfuls of spaghetti. There was a lot of cleanup for me. I had to mop the kitchen floors, pick strands of spaghetti out of my dog’s (and my own!) hair, and give my baby a bath immediately after the sensory activity concluded. The bath was fun, though, since he was already in a great playful mood.
The colors of the spaghetti did not get mixed up much, so I put each color back into their separate ziploc bags and put them back in the freezer. It will be great to use again another rainy or too hot day.
Have fun! And comment below or tag me on Facebook or Instagram with how your sensory spaghetti turned out. Thanks!