Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Rainbow spaghetti

Last year I made some rainbow rice for D. It was a great success and he loved it but Iz still insists on eating *everything* you put within arms reach so I wanted to try something different. Although rice is obviously edible, I didn't really want her eating handfuls of uncooked rice! So we mixed it up a bit and used spaghetti instead...

There are two different ways to colour cooked pasta - I've used both and prefer the second method as the colour is more "entrenched" (you'll see what I mean further down the page...).

Method 1:
Cook the spaghetti as normal. Once drained, separate it into separate ziploc bags (the number depends on how many different colours you want) and add a small amount of food colouring. If using food gels just add a small amount of vinegar aswell (that's how I do it - much more vibrant colours). Seal the bag and shake until the pasta is coloured. Toddlers are good at helping with this bit (as long as they don't get over-excited and rip the bag by mistake!). Then spread the pasta out on a piece of greaseproof paper and leave to dry completely.

D helping with the mixing
Method 2:
Add some food colouring to some water in a saucepan. Then cook your pasta as normal, in the coloured water. Hey presto, once ready your pasta will have that colour "locked in". You don't even need to leave this pasta to dry before using it - just make sure it's not too hot though! (You can see spaghetti made this way here)

Diving straight in...

I initially thought up this activity for Iz and she did love it.

It was perfect that I didn't need to worry about her eating it!

But I was amazed at how much D enjoyed it too!

He used tweezers to try and pick strands up (great fine motor practice). He made spaghetti cupcakes. We talked about the different colours as he identified them. He loved it and actually played with it for longer than Iz!

After each play we put it into a Tupperware and stored it in the fridge. We kept it for 5 days and played with it most days.

And for any of you wondering why I now prefer method 2 for colouring my pasta... On day 5 when both D and Iz had played with the spaghetti lots and I thought it was probably approaching the end of its shelf-life, I decided to do something slightly different for them. So I filled up the paddling pool and told D he could put the spaghetti in.

Water looks nice and clear to start with...

Both of them loved playing with the spaghetti in the pool. It was like it was a whole new sensory material they hadn't seen before.


But as you might have noticed in the above photos after a while the water turned a slightly muddy grey colour. I suspect it was bits of the colour leaching off the spaghetti in the water. Not dangerous but not the most aesthetically pleasing sight! So from now on I prefer the boil-in-colours method :)


Have you done any pasta play with your baby or toddler? D's had lots of fun with some dried pasta too which I'll blog about later and I'd love to hear about anything you've been up to.

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