When I was making my Knife Garden the other day, I couldn’t resist coloring some pasta for my boys, M and L. Look at how vibrant and fun they are! The directions for dying the pasta are almost the same as the spaghetti for the Knife Garden, but these take a lot less time.
1. pasta – pick fun shapes and ones that can be strung!
2. rubbing alcohol or vinegar
3. liquid food coloring
4. Ziploc type bags
5. cookie sheet
6. aluminum foil
7. paper towels
Put your pasta into Ziploc type bags. Use one bag for each color you want to make. If you’re using more than one type of pasta, you could do one color per type, or have a mix of them all per bag.
Next, add rubbing alcohol or vinegar to the bag. It doesn’t have to completely cover the pasta, but should at least cover half of it. I used rubbing alcohol, because it was what I had on hand. Vinegar would be a safer option for younger kids who still explore items by putting them in their mouths.
Add food coloring to each bag. Make sure to add it to the rubbing alcohol and NOT directly on the pasta. Use about 10 drops per snack/sandwich size bag. Use more if it’s a very light color, like yellow.
At this point, you might want to double your bags to prevent leaks. Mine stood up really nice on the counter, so I decided it wasn’t worth wasting the extra bags. Now gently shake your bags until the color is evenly mixed in the rubbing alcohol and each piece of pasta has been saturated. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes. Give them another shake. Repeat this until you achieve the desired color. Mine only took about 30 minutes.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil to protect it from the food coloring. Then lay down a couple layers of paper towels on top of the aluminum foil (all of my cookie sheets were occupied at the time with piles of spaghetti, so I improvised and used a muffin tin). Take your pasta out of the bags (you can use gloves). Let excess coloring solution drip into the bag before placing them on the paper towels. It’s best if you can lay them out flat in a single layer. They will dry faster and won’t clump together. Let them dry completely.
I found this pack of 4 food safe containers for less than $2. I LOVE the bright lids. I divided the pasta between two containers, put scooping utensils and stringing shoelaces in another, and left the fourth empty to dump the pasta into!
I taped the middle of two shoelaces to the inside bottom of one container. This solved the problem of tying a knot at the end. It also makes it easier to string the pasta on when the shoelaces are anchored. AND I won’t find stray shoelaces in some random corner of the house – it’s easy clean up!
Now the FUN part! Let the kids play, and watch their brains go to work! Just think about all the learning opportunities here: color sorting, shape sorting, patterns, fine motors skills… and to them it’s just playing!
My boys loved this!
Get ready for a picture parade!
This is an awesome sit-down activity that will keep the kids focused for a long time!
Don’t those vibrant colors make you want to sit down and play too? 😉
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