In our quest to learn colours but not have to spend much money on the process, I’ve discovered a few tutorials on how to colour pasta in such a way that it is bright and bold and fun looking. The problem is, the majority of these methods include the use of rubbing alcohol, or surgical spirits, in the dye process. I find this less than ideal when you’re working with something for a two year old, quite frankly, so had been searching for an alternative.
I found one in the form of vinegar. Using simple white vinegar you can colour pasta with a little food colouring. It’s non-toxic, and toddlers aren’t overly keen on eating it after the first attempt anyway! (Unless they particularly like the taste of vinegar, perhaps!)
The process for making it is extremely simple, and I’m’ not going to walk you through it – you can see the original tutorial here - but will say this: You put pasta, a spoon of vinegar and food colouring in a bag, mix it up, leave it to air dry and play, play, play. Easy peasy.
Here, however is what I do want to share with you. Our coloured pasta:
Doesn’t it look lovely?
And the games you can play are pretty endless. As a colour learning exercise, it was important that we discussed the colours and used a lot of repetition – children learn best by doing. So we:
1) String the pasta
Making pasta necklaces is as old as childhood – or pasta – itself. I decided that we’d stretch our fun out by saving that particular delight for another time, and on our first (and subsequent) pasta play efforts, we just strung the colours in different sequences, sometimes with me recommending colours, other times with Ameli just going for it and telling me which colours she was using.
2) Sort the pasta
Another fun game and amazingly engaging is sorting pasta into the appropriate colours. We just played with three colours here, but it was still a good sorting activity and again we were able to talk about and name the different colours.
3) Free play
The power of free play is amazing. When I leave Ameli to unguided play, she comes up with all sorts of things – like stringing up the pasta and then dragging it around the living room behind her calling it a car. Amazing.
What other games could we play with our coloured pasta?