Threading activities are wonderful for children. They help develop hand-eye co-ordination, patterning, colour recognition and finger dexterity. You can make necklaces, bracelets and even measuring strings. Make sure you talk to children during and after this activity, language is so powerful!
How to Make Coloured Pasta
Hollow pasta with tube shapes (penne, macaroni)
Hand Sanitiser gel or rubbing alcohol
Zip Lock bags
1. In each zip lock bag, place a few squirts of hand sanitiser and a few drops of food colouring. Seal the bag and mix it well.
2. Add enough dry pasta to fit in the zip lock bag comfortably. Seal the bag and move the pasta around carefully until all the pasta is coloured.
3. Place coloured pasta on a tray to dry. These could dry within an hour, but I prefer to leave for a few hours, or overnight. (The food colouring will stain your hands and clothes if you don’t let it dry completely!) If you find your pasta is still wet underneath, transfer it to another tray lined with paper towel.
4. This pasta will keep for months in an airtight container (Don’t eat it!)
Tips for Threading with Children
1. Make a ‘needle’. An easy one to make is with a cotton tip. (ear bud) Tie a piece of string onto the bottom end of the cotton tip. The top end becomes the needle which is easy to thread through large pasta shapes. (May not fit through smaller macaroni)
2. Have a ‘stopper’. Tie another cotton tip onto the end of the string, this time horizontally so the pasta cannot fall through it.
3. Don’t make the string too long; it will be harder for small children to manage threading.
4. Talk about it! What colour are you using next? Why have you used this colour? Tell me about your pattern. What are you going to do with this necklace/bracelet? What is tricky about threading? What else could you make?
5. You can also thread strings of pasta to measure things! (Let’s make a one metre pasta string, how many lengths will our lounge be?)