by: Jenny of Hank + Hunt

This is a remake of an activity my son Henry just did in Kindergarten. His older brother Hunter and I were helping that day, and I almost cried when he gave me his first pasta necklace. This activity is great for dexterity and pattern recognition. Hunter is only four and was just lacing away, but Henry was able to follow the directions and create patterns. The colors were a little light in class, so I experimented with Americolor Food Coloring again and it turned out perfect. I think the brighter colors are much more fun!


You will need: pasta (if lacing, buy ones with big holes), isopropyl alcohol, jars with lids, gel food coloring.

Prep does NOT involve the kids, as it stinks pretty bad.  If your kids are younger than mine and still put things in their mouth, feel free to switch the isopropyl alcohol for white vinegar. It is equally stinky, but you won’t have to worry about them chewing on it.

Fill jar about 3/4 full with noodles, add isopropyl alcohol to cover and add food coloring.  Put the lid on and shake. Let sit overnight.  Henry’s teacher said just a few hours, but I wanted the color to be really saturated.  **Helpful hint, you can only substitute a plastic bag for the jars if you are using the white vinegar version. The alcohol will melt the bags and start to leak; I might have learned the hard way.

The next morning, strain off the liquid and cover a cookie sheet with paper towels. Pour out the noodles and don’t let the colors touch, as they are still dyeable at this point. I let them dry for another day in the garage.

Ready to string? Cut lengths of twine or yarn about 3 feet long. Tie a noodle to the end as a stopper.

Let the little ones thread away.  Tie off when done and trim any extra edges.

This process would be equally wonderful for sensory boxes and gluing into art.  Secret trick?  When we were little we had only glue, but now you can buy dot adhesive and just stick them away. It’s faster and ready to hang right away.  Just get them on sheets and let the kids go bonkers. Enjoy!