Pasta play is so much fun and has many educational benefits. Its super easy to use and something most people have a bag of in their kitchen cupboards. So why not give it a try? See below for all sorts of things you can do with pasta and the educational benefits your child will gain, when they think they are just ‘playing’.
What type do I use?
You can choose any kind of pasta shapes you like! Some lend themselves better to certain activities, but for most of the activities below you can use tubes, bows, twists, whatever you have in the cupboard.
Plain pasta is great or even better the tricolore coloured pasta that you can buy ready coloured. If you want to do some activities related to colour recognition, then you can easily dye your pasta with a bit of paint. All you need to do is pop the pasta in a washing up bowl or other container, squirt some poster paint in and then spread it out in a tray to dry.
Making Marks and Shapes
I did this activity recently in one of my zoom classes and it worked really well. I asked the children (or parents of younger children) to draw each of our pre-writing marks; straight line, curved line, circle and zig-zag. These marks help to make up all of the letters, numbers and shapes so are great to practise. The children then used the pasta and placed it along the lines of the marks.
This is great for shape recognition and for learning to draw the different marks. It is also great for fine-motor skills development as the children are using their pincer grip to pick up small objects and then place them accurately on the mark, testing their hand-eye co-ordination. They can then count the number of pieces of pasta on each shape. Which one has the most?
Loading up the trucks!
This is another great number activity to do with pasta. Just tip a load of pasta into a tuff tray or other kind of container. Make the area into a construction site with diggers, tractors and trucks. Use vehicles that have a space to load or a trailer. In each vehicle I stuck a number on a sticky label. The children had to put the correct number of pasta pieces in each vehicle before they could move off and dump their load! This is great again for those fine motor skills and for counting.
If you don’t have trucks, you can just use bowls.
Finally, a really simple activity to do with pasta is sorting it into colours. If you dye your pasta, try to use a few different colours. Then if you have buckets or plastic bowls the same colours as the pasta – great! Your little one can use tongs, tweezers or just their pincer grip to pick up the pasta and put it in the same coloured bowl.
Even better, if you have pasta tubes, they can thread the pasta onto pipe cleaners or string and make wiggly worms or bracelets. Another great fine motor activity to help strengthen the muscles up in those little hands and get them ready for writing!
I hope you enjoy these fun ‘Pasta Play’ activities! It really is a great resource just sitting there in your kitchen cupboard. Get it out and start playing and learning!
As always, please share your pasta play ideas in the comments.