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Dyed Spaghetti Sensory Play

Our weather the other day was unseasonably cool (not complaining and neither is my electric bill) and also a bit rainy. I was trying to think of something different and hands on for my kiddos to do and while I was cleaning out the pantry, I found a partially used box of spaghetti. Box in hand, I set out to try a little experiment and here it is…

What you need: 

  • spaghetti – amount is up to you and based on the size tray or bin you will be using for play. I used a large cookie sheet and the almost full box I had fit great.
  • Large pot to cook a spaghetti 
  • Bowls or bins for each color you want to do (we did three)
  • Cold water
  • White vinegar
  • Food dye (I used gel dyes)
  • Paper towels
  • Large cookie sheet, bin, container, etc for play
  • Scooping items like measuring cups, tongs, etc for play 

What you do:

  • Boil water in the pot and cook spaghetti as directed on the box
  • While the spaghetti is cooking, you can prepare the dyes.  Add cold water to your bowls or containers and then 5-7 tablespoons of vinegar. Put in 15-17 drops of food dye, stir it up and set aside.

  • Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and divide it between the bowls you set aside with the water, vinegar, and dye (no need to let it cool). Let it sit for the desired amount of time you want. The longer you leave it, the more rich the color will be.

  • When the spaghetti has reached the desired color, drain the bowls and lay it out on a cookie sheet to dry off. I also used a paper towel to take some of the moisture and extra coloring out.

Note: I did not rinse the dyed spaghetti, but you may want to try rinsing to clean off some of the extra dye. My kiddos did have some dye residue on their hands, but it came off easily with dish soap and water.

  • After the spaghetti has mostly dryed, add a very small amount of oil (I used cooking spray) to keep it from sticking together
  • Put it all in a bin, container, large bowl, cookie sheet and play! Scoops and tongs were super fun ways to play with it and I also put down silicone cooking mats for easy clean up. 


I hope you enjoy this activity as much as we did!

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

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