Colored Pasta Rings: Sensory Fun + 6 Ways to Play

Colored Pasta Rings: Sensory Fun + 6 Ways to Play

Have you ever dyed pasta for a sensory bin? I'm going to teach you how to dye pasta for sensory play, what pasta to choose, benefits of sensory play, and storage instructions so you can keep the dyed pasta for years to come! 

Choosing the Pasta:

You can choose any type of uncooked pasta to dye for sensory play. Here, we chose this type because of the versatility of the pasta, allowing for multiple types of activities for preschoolers and kids. I used 3/4-1 bag of pasta for each color that I made. You can make as little or as much as you want, depending on the container you will be using for sensory play. 

How to Dye Pasta for Sensory Play:

  • Step 1: Open the bags of pasta and divide them evenly into large Ziploc bags (one bag for each color). 
  • Step 2: Pour a few squirts of liquid watercolor into each bag (one color per bag). I always wing this, but my guess is 2-3 teaspoons to start. 
  • Step 3: Close the bag and seal it. Make sure it's fully sealed. Shake the bag vigorously until the pasta changes color. Add more liquid watercolor as needed. 
  • Step 4: Open the bag and let it air dry for multiple hours (preferably overnight). I usually keep the pasta in the bag to make it easier on myself, but you could also pour it onto parchment paper and lay it in a thin layer to make it dry quicker. 
  • Step 5: Once the pasta is completely dried, it's ready for playing! The dye will not transfer once the pasta is fully dried as long as it doesn't get wet.

Benefits of Sensory Play: 

Sensory play provides unlimited opportunities for play and learning. Here are a few of the benefits of sensory play in early childhood.

  • encourages oral language development
  • boosts gross and fine motor skills
  • encourages exploration and creativity
  • helps cognitive growth
  • encourages social interactions
  • helps calm you down/reduce anxiety/promotes self-regula tion
  • multi-sensory approach to learning

How to Store the Dyed Pasta for Future Play:

Once the pasta is dyed and dried, it will hold up for months (even years) as long as it stays dry and is stored appropriately. You can store the pasta in a sealed Ziploc bag or storage container with a sealed lid. 

We love dyed pasta and other sensory bases like this, because once you dye it one time, you have an activity ready for you whenever you want to bring it out! 

Activities to Try Using the Dyed Pasta:

  • Activity 1: Open-ended play

Place the dyed pasta into a bin or sensory table. Under the bed storage containers or other plastic containers work great for this. To minimize the mess, we love to put a container inside a larger container. This way, if pasta falls out of the bin, it's captured inside the larger bin. Alternatively, you can place a towel or large sheet down underneath the bin you're playing with. 

Add cups, spoons, and/or any other kitchen and sensory type utensils you wish inside the bin. Let your child explore and play however they wish. 

  • Activity 2: Pasta Threading

Pasta threading is such a fun and simple activity that helps with fine motor skills. You need playdough, uncooked spaghetti pieces, and the colored pasta. Make small balls of playdough and place on a plate or flat surface. Take a piece of uncooked spaghetti (I like to cut the spaghetti in half), and place the spaghetti right in the center on top of the playdough, so that it stands up straight. Give your child the colored pasta and let them thread the pasta pieces onto the spaghetti. 

  • Activity 3: Pasta Necklaces or Bracelets

It's always fun to make jewelry! For bracelets, you can use a pipe cleaner and let your child thread the colored pasta onto the pipe cleaner. Twist at the ends to secure onto your child's wrist. For necklaces, do the same with yarn and tie at the end. 

  • Activity 4: Color Sorting

Give your child a handful of the colored pasta and have them color sort. For older kids, you can have them compare the number of pasta pieces for each color or graph them! 

  • Activity 5: Throw to the Cup

Place a cup inside a tray or sensory bin. Let your child try to throw one piece of pasta at a time and see if they can make it into the cup. 

  • Activity 6: Colored Pasta Ring Tape Balance

Place strip of painters tape across the top of the sensory bin. Try balancing the pasta rings on top of the tape. You can make patterns, build towers, or see how many pasta pieces the tape can hold! 

I hope you've enjoyed learning about dying pasta for sensory play. Make sure you're following us on instagram for daily activity ideas and more sensory play ideas! 


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