Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Pasta Crafts and More!

February 11, 2010 14:20 by Barbara Shelby

You may think pasta is only for young children and there are only a few things you can do with it. Not so!!!  Why not look at some noodle based ideas? It's  fairly inexpensive and it can be the perfect ingredient to inspire...  Add color and texture to your next project.

Art, Crafts, Cooking, Songs/Poems, Quiz, and more!

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ART & CRAFT IDEAS......

 

COOKED PASTA ART (This image has actually been made using cooked noodles for face and hair!) 

1. Toss pasta (a handful for each child) into a pot of boiling water. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to keep it from clumping together. Cook until the pasta is soft but not mushy. Drain and rinse with cold water so that it will be cool enough to handle. 
2. Shape the pasta into flowers and faces or stretch them into scenic landscapes. For varying lengths, kids can cut the spaghetti with a plastic knife before pressing it onto the page.
3. To keep a favorite picture, cover it with waxed paper and top with a heavy book so that it will dry flat. The pasta will adhere even after it hardens.

Variations:
If you're out of spaghetti, try using other pasta shapes. (Cook them all in the same pot.) Make a 'poodle' out of elbow macaroni or a 'fire truck' from lasagna)
Tip:
Add a bit of food coloring to the boiling water for bright-hued noodles.

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PAINT WITH COOKED NOODLES!

1.  Cook spaghetti and add some oil to the water so that the noodles do not stick together.
2.  Drain and place in a small container for the kids.
3.  Set out 2-3 plates filled with different colors of tempera paint and some white paper.
4.  Show children how to drag a piece of spaghetti through the paint to create interesting designs on the paper.

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PASTA & PIPE CLEANER FIGURES
Take a pipe cleaner and arrange pasta on them to create people and animals. Do this by matching shapes and sizes and bending them to create almost anything.

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MAKE A MACARONI SNAKE
1.  Take a package of dry macaroni and thread each piece on to a piece of string which is long enough to be dragged on the floor behind you.
2.  Allow enough string at one end to loop it round your wrist and tie a knot to secure it.
3.  Tie a triple knot at the opposite end to ensure that the macaroni doesn't fall off.
4.  If macaroni has not already been colored---paint the snakes in bright colors.
5.    Place your wrist through the loop.
and of course...you can make shorter snakes too!

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 PASTA PEACE BRACELET

Materials:
Peace sign-shaped pasta (by Annie's or other food specialty stores in the natural foods section), food coloring, leather or faux leather cording, jump rings, zip-close plastic bags.

 

Place peace pasta in separate plastic bags and add food coloring. Make 3 or 4 colors. Let pasta pieces dry on newspaper and then on foil (so it won't stick).

Once dry, carefully pry open jump rings and loop one around the top of each peace sign and reclose. String rings onto cording and tie cord to secure. Photo/Idea of Devanie Angel 

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SOUP CAN VASE OR PENCIL HOLDER 

1. Clean the can being careful of the edges!--Sand the lip of the can with your sand paper, to smooth sharp edges.--Rinse any shavings off of the can
2. Fill a paper towel with a layer of noodles
3. Coat the outside of the can with glue, using a paintbrush
TIP: Leave a half an inch or so on the top and bottom of the can without glue, so it won't pick up PASTA NOODLES and you can handle it more easilyy
4. Roll the can in the noodles covering the can; make sure the noodles are stuck securely and let them dry.
5. Spray paint the outside of the can any color you like (Many kids liked gold)
6. Let them dry and use them to fill with flowers or pens and pencils, or whatever you like! They make great gifts!!!

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DRIED APPLE AND CINNAMON PASTA HANGING
1.  Slice apples sideways and place the slices in a lemon juice and water mixture for a few minutes.
2.  Moisten rigatoni pasta with water and then roll and coat them in cinnamon.
3.  Using plastic needles and yarn, alternately string the apples and noodles.
4.  Add a country fabric bow (or your choice of bow) to the top and dry near a sunny window.
5.  The hangings need not be in a wreath shape--but hang straight down... They look and smell great!

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STRING MACARONI FOR CELEBRATIONS!
Strung macaroni can also be used as part of party decorations. You can use it much as you would paper chains or to use on your Christmas tree as garland.

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TISSUE BOX GIFTS
Directions call for "un-opened facial tissue box".
1.  Take the box and glue pasta shapes all over it--except the opening at the top.
2. IF KIDS WANT, give them a couple days to cover the box completely with the pasta shapes--(they'll do a nicer job if they also have time to do other things too.) Use uncooked pasta shapes of macaroni, wagon wheels, bow ties, and cork-screws...
3.  When the glue has dried, spray paint the boxes gold (away from the kids)...

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PASTA FRAMES UNPAINTED

1.Cut out cardboard frames for children--or purchase pre-made card-board frames from a craft supply company or store.
2.  Glue colored pasta shapes around the frames.
Take pictures of the children and attach it to the back--then give as a gift!

PASTA FRAMES PAINTED

Materials:
Card Stock
Pasta Shapes
Spray Paint
Strong Glue
Tape
Magnetic Strips
Ruler
Scissors
Pencil
 
1. Take card stock and measure and cut the size of frame you want. Next, cut out the middle to fit the size of photo you want to frame.

2. Glue pasta shapes onto the frame. When pasta is dry take the frame outside and spray with chosen spray paint. Leave frame to dry.

3. Tape picture on the back of the frame and you have a one-of-a-kind photo frame.

4. Turn your frame into a magnet by gluing a magnet on the back of the cardstock.
Source: National Pasta Association

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DRIED MACARONI STUFFED FELT TOY ANIMALS & BEAN BAGS
If you don't have any beans, rice, lentils, or split peas available--- dry macaroni pasta is a great alternative stuffing for toy felt animals and bean-bags. 

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PLASTIC SHAKER-MUSIC MAKER

  • Find a clean, empty plastic container with a screw-on lid, such as a peanut butter jar or a individual serving juice or milk bottle.
  • Put a handful of uncooked macaroni in the container
  •  Put some glue around the edge of the container and screw the lid on tightly.
  • Allow the glue to dry before shaking. Decorate with stickers or colorful masking tape.
    OR....
    1.  Get two washed, empty yogurt containers.
    2.  Quarter-fill each with macaroni pieces and tape the containers together, rim to rim.
    3. You now have a homemade percussion instrument -

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MAKING CARDS WITH a variety of PASTA SHAPES!
You’ll Need:
Paper
Macaroni
Glue
Tempera paint
1. Fold the paper into a card shape.
2. Glue macaroni onto the front of the card, either in a random fashion or as part of an overall picture or design. Allow the glue to dry.
3. Use tempera paints to add color to the macaroni and to the rest of the card.
4. Write a message on the inside of the card.
5. Make sure the card is cushioned so it doesn't get destroyed if the card is mailed....

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MAKE A PASTA COLLAGE

Put out a variety of colored pasta (rice would be nice too)...What kind of textured creations will the children come up with?!

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COIN HOLDER DECORATED WITH PASTA!
1.
  Have children mold pieces of dough into small bowl shapes (Baked Art Dough directions are below)
2. Decorate the bowls by pressing colored pasta pieces and dried beans in to the shape.
3.  Bake the bowls with decorations in place.
4.  Use the following recipe and baking directions...

BAKED ART DOUGH for project... 

In a bowl, mix together 2 coups flour and ½ cup salt.

Stir in ¾ cup water.

Knead the mixture for 8 to 10 minutes, until it is smooth and pliable.

If the dough is too dry, add a few drops water.

If it is too sticky, add a small amount of flour.

Have children mold the dough into shapes and press in the pasta and bean decorations when desired.
Place the decorated shapes on a baking sheet and bake them at 300 degrees F for about 4 hours, or until hard. If desired, when shapes are cool and dry, spray the painted or unpainted shapes with a clear fixative—in an area away from youth.

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MACARONI SKELETON

  • Need: Black construction paper (approximately 6" x 11.5")
  • Glue that will dry clear
  • Lima beans (head, thorax, hips)
  • Short, small macaroni in a tube (spine)
  • Thin twisted macaroni (arms, legs)
  • Elbow noodles (ribs)
  • Small shells (joints)
  • Spaghetti (fingers, toes)
  • Black permanent marker

Directions:
1.
Build a sample skeleton for the children to copy from. Review the key features with them.
2. Guide children to  build their skeleton working from the head down (i.e., head, neck/trunk, ribs, etc.), gluing the macaroni and beans to the paper as they go.
3. When they glue and macaroni has set, have them draw a smile and eyes on the "head".
TIPS:
As preparation for this project, study the human skeleton. Talk about symmetry between the two sides of the body, and how many ribs, fingers and toes we have. (Also good at Halloween!)Source: Kaboose.com

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LAYERED PASTA JARS
Collect an assortment of jars. Have children fill the jars in layers with a variety of shapes and colors of pasta. The jars make pretty decorations for kitchens, etc. Nice to give as a gift!

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 COLORED PASTA RAINBOWS

  • Dye stringable pasta in batches of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. (Directions to dye pasta at page bottom)
  • Have children use the pieces for making a rainbow.
  • Either GLUE ON white paper to make a rainbow or...
  • STRING ON very long yarn in batches of colors...

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SPAGHETTI AND SEED PLAQUE

1.  GLUE DRY SPAGHETTI onto a plaque-shaped piece of barn wood (any wood)
2.  Fill each section with different pasta/seeds/beans...Arrange pasta and seeds into different patterns, by colors or by shapes .
3.  You can attach a "picture hook" to the back to hang in the kitchen or prop against something.

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MAPLE LEAF PASTA MAGNET OR PIN using Recycled Materials
Materials:
Uncooked spaghetti
Adhesive-backed magnet
Green food coloring
Cardboard
Recycled clean margerine container
Styrofoam vegetable trays
Spoon
Paintbrush and Scissors
 
1. Draw and cut out a maple-leaf shape on a piece of cardboard. (Good idea to make a template for the kids to trace)
 
2. Pour 1/4 cup (50ml) white glue into an empty margerine container. Add 2-3 drops of green food coloring to the glue. Mix well, until the color is a shade you like.

3. For a good work surface--Place cardboard leaf into a styrofoam vegetable tray. Paint the entire surface of the leaf with the colored glue.

4. Break spaghetti sticks in half. Line up the spaghetti sticks in a single direction on the leaf. Be sure the spaghetti is adhering to the glue. Leave the spaghetti untrimmed at this point.

5. Cover the untrimmed spaghetti with glue-coloring so that it is completely colored.
 
6. Let the leaf dry on a clean styrofoam tray. Once the glue has dried, carefully cut around the edges of the cardboard shape to remove the excess spaghetti. It is helpful to turn the leaf 'spaghetti-side down' while cutting the spaghetti.

7. Repair jagged edges with glue and pieces of trimmed spaghetti. Allow to dry a second time.

8. Adhere two magnets to the center of the cardboard back.
This project also makes a great lapel pin. Just use a pin backing instead of a sticky-backed magnet!
Adapted from TeaPartyCrafts

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MACARONI ORNAMENTS
Need:
(1) 3" X 4" piece of tag board or lightweight cardboard for each ornament.
Paper clip for each
All shapes and sized of macaroni
Scissors and glue
Gold spray paint and newspapers.
1.  Fold the 3" X 4" piece of tag board or cardboard in half.
2.  Cut out ANY shape desired for the ornament.
3.  Cover the cutout shape with glue.
4.  Arrange the dried pasta shapes on the ornaments. They can be arranged any way the children like.
5.  When one side is complete- let it dry and set.
6.  Turn it over and do the other side.
7.  Put a clip through the card board to hang. Spray with gold spray paint. It is advisable to lay many ornaments on newspaper and spray all at the same time. Let one side dry and then do the other side.

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PASTA NECKLACES 

Rigatoni pasta works great for this activity. Set out some colored pasta.

 Give children a 12 – 14 inch length of yarn.

  • Wrap tape around one end of the yarn for a needle and tape the other end of the yarn onto the table (to keep pasta from falling off).
  • Have children thread the yarn through the pasta pieces.
  • Help children finish their necklace by tying the yarn ends together.
  • You can also make bracelets...

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ALPHABET NOODLE BRACELET
Materials:
Light weight cardboard such as from cereal boxes
Uncooked Alphabet shaped noodles,
Hole puncher
Glue
Yarn

  • Cut out a piece of cardboard that is about ½ inch wide and long enough to fit around child's wrist.

  • Spell out child's  name -or any other word - with the alphabet noodles

  • Be sure to place your word in the center of the cardboard strip and glue them in place

  • Allow the glue to dry; when glue is dry punch, a hole in each end of the cardboard.

  • Cut a piece of yarn that is about six inches long and string each end up through each hole on the bracelet and tie the bracelet to fit the wrist.

Tip: You can leave as is...or before you tie the bracelet - paint it using acrylic paints or spray paints. Make sure to apply thin coats of either paint and allow the paint to dry. If using acrylic paint make sure to use a sealer as well. Another choice is to dye the pasta; directions are below.

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PASTA PICTURES (For all ages) 
Make pasta pictures with any dry shaped noodle you can find. The more texture to the noodle, the better. This makes a great craft
project.

You will need heavy card stock or construction paper, (the sample is on masonite) a variety of texture and different shape pasta noodles and Elmer's glue. Allow the kids to be creative and design their own picture or you can give them a theme to follow such as make a pasta head. Be sure to let the glue dry overnight or at least for a few hours. 

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MORE PASTA ART AND LETTER IDEAS...You can also use pasta shapes to decorate drawings or write messages! (These two samples have been in my files. If you know source--please advise KidActivities for proper attribution--Thank you, Barb)

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PASTA PEOPLE
Materials Needed:
A couple different types of pasta and dried beans, such as: Spaghetti, macaroni, tiny tube pasta, long tube pasta, wagon wheels, long spirals, tiny shells, wagon wheels
A piece of construction paper
White glue
1.  Glue the pasta to the paper using white glue.
2.  Have the kids arrange the pasta on the paper before gluing (to make sure that they have room for the whole body on the piece of paper).
3.  You can use just about any type of pasta (or dried beans) for the body parts. Experiment with different variations

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MAKE A PARTY LEI - Great for a party, celebration or just for something pretty! They aren't only for a Hawaiian Theme! Lay out pre-cut pieces of string, twine, raffia, or fishing line, long tube pasta and plastic or fabric tropical flowers. The kids can string together the flowers and pasta to make a fun to wear lei necklace.

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DRIED APPLE AND CINNAMON PASTA HANGING
1.  Slice apples sideways and place the slices in a lemon juice and water mixture for a few minutes.
2.  Moisten rigatoni pasta with water and then roll and coat them in cinnamon.
3.  Using plastic needles and yarn, alternately string the apples and noodles.
4.  Add a country fabric bow (or your choice of bow) to the top and dry near a sunny window.
5.  The hangings need not be in a wreath shape--but hang straight down... They look and smell great!

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STRING MACARONI FOR CELEBRATIONS!
Strung macaroni can also be used as part of party decorations. You can use it much as you would paper chains or to use on your Christmas tree as garland.

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SEA SHELL PASTA NECKLACES
1. Cook jumbo pasta shells in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes. 
Plan to cook about six shells for each necklace that you want to make. 
2. Drain and cool the shells. 
3. While the shells are still soft, poke a hole into each end of each shell with a needle.  Allow shells to dry.

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MAKE PASTA STAMPED PAPER...Nice for Art or Wrapping Papper
Materials:
Plain white paper
Paint/paintbrush/markers/crayons
Pasta shells of diefferent designs
Glitter, sequins 
 
Dip pieces of pasta in paint to make pasta shaped impressions on the paper. Use markers, crayons, paints and glitter or sequins to fill in the background

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PASTA SNOWFLAKES

Need: Wheel shaped pasta, White paint, White glitter, Dry Tapioca pudding mix, Paint brushes, Elmer's glue

Take round wheel shaped pasta and glue them together in a circle shape. When dry--paint the entire snow flake white. Before the paint dries sprinkle on glitter mixed with dry Tapioca pudding mix.
To hang from the ceiling, insert a piece of string or yarn through one of the wheel holes after the snow flake is dry.

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VALENTINE SPAGHETTI ART
 
1. Cook spaghetti noodles, drain and cool.
2. Fill a gallon Ziplock bag one quarter of the way with water.
3. Add red food coloring to the water.
4. Add cooked spaghetti and mix around in the Ziplock bag until noodles change color. Drain.
5. Children can take one noodle at a time, dip it in glue and place it on a piece of paper in the shape of a heart. Submitted by Cassie/Michigan

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MISCELLANEOUS IDEAS ...

SONGS & POEMS

 

SING THE SONG "ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI"!
(To the tune of On Top of Old Smoky)

On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese
I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table and onto the floor
And then my poor meatball rolled out of the door. It rolled in the garden and under a bush
And now my poor meatball is nothing but mush.
So next time you eat spaghetti, All covered with cheese ...Protect your poor meatball, in case of a sneeze.

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RAVIOLI
Sing to tune of Alouette

All:       Ravioli, I like ravioli
            Ravioli, it's the best for me.

Leader: Have I got it on my chin?

All:      Yes, you have it on your chin.

Leader:  On my chin?

All:       On your chin!
 
All: Ohhhh...
      Ravioli, I like ravioli.
      Ravioli, it's the best for me.

After the 'chin' verse is sung--repeat with pants, shoes, shirt, walls, floors, etc.

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A great poem by one of my favorite poets!

I HAVE NOODLES in MY NOSTRILS!

I have noodles in my nostrils.
I have noodles on my nose.
There are noodles on my cheeks and chin
and dripping down my clothes.

I've got more upon my forehead.
Some are sticking to my neck.
It's completely disconcerting.
I'm a noodle-covered wreck.

I can see them on my kneecaps,
and I know they're in my shoes.
(When I stand they're somewhat squishy
and I feel them start to ooze.)

There are several in my pockets.
There's a handful in my hair.
And I'm pretty sure that some are even
in my underwear.

So try not to do what I did
(I'm a total nincompoop),
and don't ever fall asleep
while eating chicken noodle soup.
By Ken Nesbitt-poetry4kids

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SPAGHETTI POEM

Spaghetti,Spaghetti,
Heaped in a mound;
Spaghetti,Spaghetti,
Winds, winds around.

Spaghetti,Spaghetti,
Slips, dips, and trips;
Spaghetti,Spaghetti,
Slithers and drips;

Spaghetti,Spaghetti,
Slurps, sloops, and droops;
Spaghetti,Spaghetti,
Comes in groups...

Spaghetti,Spaghetti,
Twists, turns, and bends;
Spaghetti,Spaghetti,
It never ever end
(Author Unknown) 

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PASTA COOKING...Kids love to cook!

How about making any version of SPAGHETTI  and toss it in butter or a sauce?   OR...

MAKE HOMEMADE PASTA
If you have a homemade pasta machine, make it with your children. They will love to see how pasta is made!

 Think about making MACARONI AND CHEESE...

• A great snack would also be vegetable SOUP WITH PASTA LETTERS  in it! Fantastic in helping younger children learn the alphabet. Challenge  kids to find the letters that are in their name!

Pasta Salad is another idea!

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The following four ideas are GOOD FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN

1. PASTA KITCHEN
In your dramatic play area provide pasta. Put several different sizes, shapes and colors of pasta in the area.
Provide pans, spoons, and bowls for  children to pretend their cooking..
 
You can also use yarn colored like spaghetti and pom-poms for meatballs. Another idea would be to fill your sensory table with yarn (spaghetti), pom-pom meatballs, small plates and eating/serving utensils.... (Also see #3)

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2. SORT AND COUNT the pasta pieces by color. Place or glue the pieces on matching colored paper.

  • Get a box of alphabet pasta and let the kids have fun! Ideas:
    .....They can write their name or  a message to a friend.
    .....The children can test their spelling.
    .....Try mirror writing!

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3. Dried pasta is a GREAT ALTERNATIVE FOR SAND/WATER/SENSORY TABLE... and it is easy to clean up. No messy water or sand to sweep up. Just fill a large plastic storage container, sand table, or water table with a variety of dried pasta noodles and give the kids shovels, buckets, bowls, cups and spoons.

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4. CREAM COLORED YARN PASTA AND BROWN POM-POM MEATBALLS...
1. Have children draw a round circle on paper--or actually use a paper plate.
2. Glue down 'spaghetti' yarn and top with pop pop 'meatballs'!

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COLORING PASTA...

 

is easy to do and gives kids something bright and beautiful to work with. Once the pasta is colored and dried, it can be used for crafts, art work, collages, necklaces and more!

 COLORING PASTA RECIPE #1
Pour approximately 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol into each bowl.
Add 10 or so drops of food coloring into each bowl, one bowl for each color.
Drop the pasta into the bowl and stir gently with a spoon for a few seconds.
Remove the pasta from the bowl and allow to dry for several hours on a paper plate or paper towel.
The colors will brighten as the pasta dries.
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COLORING PASTA #2...
1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
1 tablespoon of food coloring of your choice
2 cups of pasta of your choice
1 quart zip lock freezer bag and l
arge paper grocery bags, paper towel, or paper plates to dry the pasta after colored...

1. Pour alcohol and food coloring in a Ziplock freezer bag. Zip it and shake to mix...when mixed add the pasta.

2. Make sure the bag is zipped; turn the bag over and over on the table to evenly coat the pasta.

3. Leave pasta in the bag for about an hour.

4. Turn it over after 30 minutes to evenly coat it.

5.Pour it out onto the paper bags, towel or plates... dry over night.

Children can do this for you. Just put the alcohol into the bags ahead of time. Provide 1 cup measuring cups and measuring spoons. Let the children choose the color and the pasta to put in their bags. Make sure all bags or closed tight. An adult needs to pour the pasta out to dry.

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PASTA QUIZ

If you love pasta, take this quiz to test your 'Pasta I.Q'. (If you're working in a child care program-this would be a nice addition to a 'Cooking Club' activity.)

 

QUESTIONS
1. In Italian, fettuccine means:
a) ribbons...b) strings...c) horse hair...d) whiskers

2. In Italian, stelline means:a) little diamonds...b) butterflies...c) melon seeds...d) little stars

3. When is National Pasta Month: a) the month of May when durum wheat is planted...b) the month during which Columbus Day falls...c) the month of September when durum is harvested...d) the month during which daylight savings time begins

4. In Italian, capelli d'angelo means:a) little angels...b) angel's wings...c) angel's hair...d) angel's breath

5. Pasta is on record as first being eaten by whom? a) the Chinese...b) the Italians...c) the Greeks...d) the Romans

6. Pasta does not contain: a) B vitamins...b) iron...c) fiber...d) cholesterol

7. Which of the following statements is false when it comes to cooking
pasta? a) at least one quart of water should be used for every four ounces of dry pasta
b) pasta should always be rinsed after cooking
c) salt added to the boiling water is optional
d) the pot should be kept uncovered while the water is boiling

8. Approximately how many shapes of pasta have been developed? a) 100... b) 350...c) 25...d) 600

ANSWERS:
1. a) ribbons
2. d) little stars
3. b) National Pasta Month is always the month during which Columbus Day falls
4. c) angel's hair
5. a) The Chinese are on record as having eaten pasta as early as 5,000 B.C.
6. d) Pasta alone contains no cholesterol
7. b) Do not rinse pasta after cooking unless the recipe specifically says to do so
8. d) 600
Source: National Pasta Association

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