Using spaghetti for sensory play is a fun way to create a super easy sensory bins. Whenever we dye spaghetti and use it as a filler in our sensory bins the play is focused on the actual experience over the toys included. It is just that fun! While this method is messy and will stain your hands, it is the easiest way I have discovered on How to Dye Rainbow Spaghetti for Sensory Play.
While sensory spaghetti is easy and affordable it is also something that kids of all ages can enjoy together. There was a point during this activity that my 8-year-old, 3-year-old, and 9-month-old were all playing together and laughing. It was one of the most beautiful things to witness as a mom.
Items Needed to Make Rainbow Sensory Spaghetti
- Craft Trays (buy here)
- Gel Food Dye (buy here)
- Under the Bed Rubbermaid Tub (buy here)
- Scoops and Toys
- Plastic Gloves or Ziploc Bags
For our sensory bin, I made A LOT of spaghetti – 5 large packages. While we were moving these packages busted open and spilled everywhere so it wasn’t something that we were going to eat anyways. When making this for play you do not need to make this much. One 16oz package will easily fill up a sensory bin and keep a kiddo entertained.
How to Make Rainbow Spaghetti for Sensory Play
To start, you are going to cook the spaghetti just like you would cook it if you were planning on eating it. The difference here is that you are going to remove it before the spaghetti is fully cooked. Keeping some firmness to the noodles will prevent them from just turning to mush. After they are cooked you will want to rinse them out very well in cold water to remove excess starch. If you skip rinsing the noodles they will be sticky, but you can still play with them. After I have rinsed the noodles I lay a towel down on my table and set out the crafting trays. I use the towel to protect my table from the heat and the gel food dye. On the crafting trays, I portion out the noodles for each color I plan on making and then I let them sit until they cool down enough to touch.
This next part I do with my hands and I personally do not wear gloves because I hate gloves and am stubborn like that. If you skip gloves it will stain your hands, but not horribly.
I made ours today and have washed my hands 3-5 times since and took a shower and the staining only shows on my nails right now. You can also use a Ziploc Bag to do this, but it does not break up and saturate the noodles as well.
Anyways, how to do this next step is extremely simple. One tray at a time scoop out some of the gel food dye and then work it into the pasta until it is fully saturated. Set the tray aside, wash your hands, and repeat on the next color. If you mix your colors inside the Ziploc once done mixing your colors open the bag and dump them back out onto the tray.
After every tray is colored allowed them to sit untouched for about 45 minutes or until the dye is dried. Giving the pasta a chance to dry and the dye to get absorbed will prevent a transfer of colors to your kids hands.
Playing with Rainbow Spaghetti in the Sensory Bin
When I originally planned on making this bin I had this glorious idea of introducing Roo to sensory play with ease. It started out great. He dug his toes in with laughter…
but…by the time I had sat him into the bin he was full on screaming at me. I am sure that if he could at that moment he would have strangled me. For Roo, he was perfectly ok playing near the sensory bin and occasionally peeking over the edge to touch what was inside. For the most part, he was more interested in the bowls. At Roo’s age it is more about observation and introduction.
Meatball was also a tad hesitant of this sensory bin even though this was not our first time doing it! It did not take him long to remember digging through the bug bin. He even ran off to find some of those bugs to recreate that bin again. While he was searching for bugs I pulled out our IKEA bowls and spoons. He QUICKLY ditched the Safari LTD. Insects for this.
RELATED READ: BUG BIN – A SIMPLE SLIMY SENSORY BIN
He is currently very interested in cooking so this engaged him instantly into very animated and expressive play. This was much more fun than helping me make sandwiches for lunch…and it stuck to the cabinets when flung! (don’t worry it is actually really easy to clean up)…
He made the best bowl of Monster Hair I have ever had. He actually said MONSTER!!!! Ok so it sounded like momster, but I promise you my hair was done for the day and he wasn’t calling me out on bad mom behavior…
Livia even jumped in and together they explored how stretchy the spaghetti was, how much spaghetti could be shoved into a bowl, and which arm was stronger for holding pasta. Y’all this was an absolute blast! I cannot wait to play around with this Rainbow Spaghetti in a couple different ways.