You HAVE to make colorful cooked pasta! It’s easy, fail-proof, and makes for the most incredible sensory activity for kids (and adults).
There’s nothing like colorful cooked pasta
I have even dyed shoes!
You can find me dyeing anything I can get my hands on, and dying cooked pasta is absolutely stunning every time.
Related: Use liquid watercolors on our GIANT 10-foot coloring page banners, too!
Colorful cooked pasta is ooey, gooey sensory fun
It’s slippery and slimy, and kids’ eyes get as large as soccer balls when they see how cool this is.
Colorful cooked pasta doesn’t just use the sense of touch; kids also engage sight, sound, smell, and possibly even taste (see below).
AND BONUS: Whatever shape pasta you have works for this method!
Looking for more sensory activities for kids? We love these:
- The Easiest Play Dough Recipe Ever – Friends Art Lab
- Outdoor Oobleck Sensory Activity for Kids – Busy Toddler
- Cloud Dough Recipe – Tinkerlab
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- Pasta – I use spaghetti noodles, but you can use any kind you’d like
- Liquid watercolors or food dye Pot + boiling water
- Vegetable oil
- Kid scissors – optional
How to make colorful cooked pasta
READ THIS FIRST: Making cooked pasta involves using a pot of boiling water on a stove, which is unsafe for young kids. This step is for adults only.
Let the fun begin!
- First, bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Second, add a generous squirt of liquid watercolors or food dye to the boiling water (I did a couple of tablespoons of liquid watercolors, you would use less food dye).
- Third, add in the pasta! If you’re using long noodles like I did, set the pasta in with as much in the water as possible, then push the top of the noodles down slowly as the bottom cooks and becomes soft. Cook for as long as the package recommends.
- Last, drain the pasta, rinse it off (the color won’t come off), and add in a tiny splash of vegetable oil.
Vegetable oil is the hero of this activity
Can you visualize what drained pasta looks (and feels) like in your hands?
It’s sticky, globby, and makes this activity less exciting.
However, just a tiny amount of vegetable oil keeps your pasta feeling perfect. It will make it smooth and silky and perfect for sensory play.
How do you store colorful cooked pasta?
I keep mine in a Ziplock bag or airtight container in the refrigerator.
When doing this with preschoolers, we would only keep it for 1-3 days (and because pasta is inexpensive, even one day of play makes it worth it).
If doing this at home, it will likely last much longer.
WAIT – let’s kick it up a notch!
Kids love scissors.
Kids love cutting things.
We love providing kids with non-paper cutting activities, and cooked pasta is a blast to cut up with scissors!
You can use any color combinations for cooked colorful pasta
Maybe you’d like to make orange, black, green, and purple pasta for Halloween.
Maybe you’d like to try pink and purple for Valentine’s Day.
Or, let it be a fun surprise each time!
No matter what colors you choose, you’re going to love this.
Any that can safely use and enjoy the materials!
If you’re using food coloring, then it is a food safe. Liquid watercolors, as shown here, are not edible.
No. The color is cooked into the pasta and rinsed after it comes out of the pot.