We all know that learning for little ones is rooted in play, and sensory play is one of our favorite ways to learn! Sensory play promotes creativity, curiosity, exploration, and problem-solving. There are so many ways you can use sensory play and so many different kinds of sensory material. One of our favorite ways to play is with a discovery bin – you might have seen Caitie playing with the discovery bin in Caitie’s Classroom! We fill the bin with sensory material – like sand, water beads, or rainbow pasta – and explore to find the items hidden in the bin. It’s so fun and full of educational moments!
We’ll walk you through the steps on how you can make your own rainbow pasta for your discovery bins and sensory play! It’s not as tricky as it may seem, and you’ll have beautiful sensory material you can use again and again!
Things You’ll Need
- Dry pasta
- Resealable plastic bags
- White vinegar
- Parchment paper
- Food coloring
- Measuring cups
- Disposable cup
Measure about two cups of your dried pasta, and add it to a resealable plastic bag. Add 1/8 cup of white vinegar to a disposable cup and add 20-30 drops of food coloring. Stir it together and then give it a test!
Dip a piece of pasta into the cup to test the color saturation. You might decide you’d like a darker shade of that color. Keep adding drops of food coloring until you get the color you like!
Add the food coloring and vinegar mixture to the resealable bag with the pasta. Seal the bag and mix well by shaking the bag until all of the pasta is covered in the color.
Once it’s all mixed, place the pasta onto parchment paper so it can dry.
Once 30 minutes have passed, use a spoon to break up and mix the pasta. This helps it from sticking together. Then continue to let it dry overnight – no more stirring needed!
Once your rainbow pasta is dry, it’s ready to play with! Scroll down for some activity ideas!
Here are some fun ways to use your discovery bin with rainbow pasta! Place your rainbow pasta into a bin. Then put some objects into bin and mix them up so they are hidden among the sensory material.
Try putting a few plastic numbers into the bin and see what numbers your little one can find. Bonus point if they can put them in order after finding them all!
Try placing plastic letters in the bin too! Ask your child to find a specific letter and see if they can search through the bin and select it from the sensory material. If you put in all the letters of the alphabet, see if they can find them all in order! Try putting in the letters of your child’s name, and see if they can find those letters one by one to spell their name.
The discovery bin is a great activity to practice and build vocabulary. Have your child identify each item they find in the bin. You can put in some different toy animals and see if they can name each one they find!
We love to explore butterflies using the rainbow pasta in the bowtie shape. The pasta shape looks like a butterfly so it’s very fun to hide toy butterflies among them. See how many your child can find. Can they count them all? What color are the butterfly’s wings?
You can also just place a bunch of your child’s favorite little toys into the bin and let them see what they can discover! There are so many fun things you can do with one simple discovery bin.
You can use the sensory material outside of a discovery bin too! Try making different shapes by moving the rainbow pasta into different forms, like a rainbow, or a circle!
If you make different colors of pasta, you can use them to create pictures! Encourage your little one to make a scene like they would using crayons on paper, but use the rainbow pasta instead!
Try mixing up your rainbow pasta and having your little one sort all the pasta pieces into different color groups!
You can make other things too, depending on the kind of pasta shape you use! Try making lines or practice patterns!
You could even use a piece of string through pasta with holes to create a fun necklace!
See what other ideas you can come up with! We hope you enjoy your DIY Rainbow Pasta for years to come!
Watch Caitie play with the rainbow pasta discovery bin in the episode Beautiful Butterflies!
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