Messy Spaghetti Painting

I love using food as sensory items for my children. There is something that completely amazes them about doing something with food other than eating and it is just such a joy to watch. I had been wanting to use pasta as the sensory food item for a while now and so I decided today would be the day. I was originally going to make rainbow pasta shapes (buy various shapes of pasta and dye each shape a different colour while cooking it) however I wanted my little ones to be a bit more creative with it. I then decided that it might be fun for them to paint with the spaghetti.

Now, the A-type personality traits that I have screamed no but the creative side of me was, quite possibly, even more excited than my children when I told them what we were going to be doing. A couple of the girl’s friends caught wind of what we were doing and so we invited them along to join in the fun (how much more mess could there be!?).

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What you need:
• Cooked and raw spaghetti
• Paints in various colours
• Plastic plates for the paint
• Blank paper for painting
• A large drop sheet to save your floors (or do the activity outside like we did)

Take about two thirds of your spaghetti and cook it according the the instructions on the packet. Usually I would elect to dye the pasta a fun colour, as we are doing an activity with it, however I decided to leave it plain so that the paint colours would be more visible.

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It didn’t take much convincing to get this lot going.

Once the pasta has finished cooking allow it to cool down a bit (we don’t want burnt little fingers). While it is cooling down, put some paint into your plastic plates and mix with a little water.

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Lay out the sheets of paper and let your children get stuck in. They are the ones who have to mix the spaghetti into the paint and then swirl it around on the paper. This presents a number of different textures, temperatures and colours. Combine this with the actual painting and your little ones will be in sensory heaven.

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Rolling out the dry spaghetti.

Thankfully it was a very hot day so all the children could paint in minimal clothing as the paint got everywhere! If your children are a bit younger you might want to make sure that the paint you use is non-toxic as they might be tempted to try to taste some (who doesn’t love a bit of rainbow pasta – yuck).

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What a mess!

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I also gave the children some of the uncooked spaghetti and let them dip them into the paint to use as a paintbrush. I think they enjoyed seeing the different marks that the soft, cooked pasta made as opposed to the hard, raw pasta. My eldest daughter also rolled the dry pasta along her piece of paper, such a great idea.

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Trying out a new spaghetti hairdo.

This really was such a fun way to spend the afternoon and I am not going to lie, it was VERY messy. But, if you are like me and you can get your creative side to override your instinct to tidy and clean, you will find that it is such a rewarding activity for both you and your children.

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