Saturday, September 15, 2012

Foodie Fun: Colored Pasta For Sensory Learning!

Well guys, since my last blog I've had my fair share of huge life changes! One is that I lost my job as a Chiropractic Assistant.  I was really hurt in the beginning because I did not see it coming, but it turned into a really wonderful change. My heart has always been with the Montessori school of thought and I decided to finally give in to what I've always wanted to do. I am now a lead teacher for a wonderful early learning center and can finally incorporate all that I've done at home into the classroom. Because the children I'm teaching are older than Piper, I can bring some of the classroom home for her! I have a feeling that this will be a good road and I'm very excited to get started. Now that I've explained why I've been so AWOL, let's get down to some serious sensory stimulation!

For starters, this is something I would not introduce any earlier than 2 years of age. Otherwise the pasta will not remain in the bucket, and it will become an uphill battle between you, your strained back, and your wild, chortling offspring.

Sensory development is crucial in a toddler's development. It helps develop gross and fine motor skills as well as spatial awareness. When you see a child filling a cup to its brink, they are answering their own question as to how much it can hold before overflowing. As they play, they learn. Touch, sight, smell, and sound are all ways to decompress and can be very soothing to a small child, as well as an adult for that matter. The more variety, the better. Soft, hard, fuzzy, round, square, dry, sticky, slippery, loud, light, heavy, quiet, fluttery, etc. Incorporating lots of tools for the children to use is incredibly important. When they pick up a spoon or small cup and transfer the materials from one point to another, it is developing hand-eye coordination that will later become useful when learning to write or tie their shoes!

Today I chose to stain some various types of pasta to keep in a plastic sensory tub for my daughter, and here was my process:


1 cup of pasta per color - I used Orzo, Tubetti, Gemelli, and Rings
2 Tbsp. of rubbing alcohol for each cup
3-4 drops of food coloring for each cup
Ziploc sandwich baggies
Aluminum foil
Cookie sheet


1. Pour 2 Tbsp. of rubbing alcohol in a sandwich baggie.
2.  Add the 3-4 drops of desired food coloring.
3.  Add the 1 cup of pasta.
4.  Mix well and let the color soak in for 5 minutes, flipping occasionally.
5.  Drain off any excess liquid.
6.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, spread the pasta on foil, and let dry for an hour.
* I made an extra batch and ran out of aluminum foil, so I used waxed paper instead. It worked even BETTER and the pasta slid right off. I would substitute waxed paper in the future.
7.  Transfer into sensory tub.
8.  Watch your toddler concentrate and focus. It's rare, so be sure to take pictures. I know I did.

Oh, joy!
Look at that focus!
Must. Concentrate. Can't. Spill.
Watching it drop into the bucket!

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