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Let me start with a quick warning... this activity is 100% messy play at it's finest AND totally worth it! Add in some dough scissors and you've got yourself some safe scissor practice too. Okay so the truth is, I always procrastinate when it comes to this activity. I'm not a fan of cooking, it almost always takes me longer to setup than the kids stay playing with it, BUT it's like this massive burst of sensory fulfillment for them and their excitement while playing makes it all worth it.
cooked spaghetti noodles
colander or strainer
plastic halloween toys
vinyl tablecloth (optional)
Cook your noodles according to the packaging then immediately drain and rinse them in cold water. Separate the noodles into ziploc bags according to the number of colors you plan to use. Add liquid watercolor to each bag; you will need quite a bit and while you can use food coloring, liquid watercolor tends to be more washable in my experience. Close the bag and shake until all noodles are coated. Pour the noodles back in the colander and rinse again. Repeat for each color yo are using.
Before You Start Tips
1. Set expectations and boundaries before the play begins. I did not do this and it was complete mayhem!
2. Lay down a vinyl tablecloth under the table to catch all the fallen pieces. Plus once the mayhem (sorry I mean play) is over and you're exhausted, you can just fold it all up and deal with it later. Seriously don't try cleaning it off right away, because once it dries it basically just falls off!
3. Set a bowl with soapy water on the table for the kids to rinse most of the noodles off prior to going to wash hands. We didn't do this, and we had a trail of noodles from the mat to the sink.
4. Be in the right state of mind for messy play because I promise you will want to be. This honesty might the most important tip (at least for me).
Collect the noodles and store in a ziploc bag removing as much air as possible. You can either use these on another day (simply rinse again if they are a little stiff) or save them for another project (details coming soon).
If you opted for the vinyl tablecloth floor covering, fold it up and set it to the side. Once the noodles dry you can easily scrape them off. As for the table and remaining floor area use a wet rag to wipe up any extra noodles.