Last weekend we celebrated our baby’s first birthday, and what better way to do it than with messy play?!
Messy play is great because it gives kids a chance to:
- have fun
- explore and learn about various textures using their sense of touch
- gain extra sensory input for those who need more than the average kid
- decrease sensitivity for those who avoid textures that feel “weird” or who are picky eaters
Rainbow spaghetti is really easy to make and it was a HUGE hit at the party, which included kids from eleven months to four years old. They were putting it all over their hands, feet, heads and, of course, in their mouths. I wish I had made a whole pool of rainbow spaghetti for them to “swim” in! It was an absolutely fantastic mess, to say the least.
Want to join in on the fun? You, too, can make rainbow spaghetti by following these six simple steps:
- Cook one package of spaghetti noodles per 9″x13″ pan. Corn pasta works great for those who are going gluten-free.
- Drain noodles and rinse with cold water until they’re cool enough to touch.
- Using your hands, work a few capfuls of oil (any kind) into the warm noodles until they are nice and slimy. If you’re like me, you know how much fun this is and you may find yourself mixing and mixing and mixing just because the texture feels sooooo good.
- Once the oil is mixed in, slowly add a whole bottle of food coloring.
- Work in the food coloring with your hands just like you did with the oil.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container until it’s time for some good old-fashioned messy play!
In addition to just “getting messy”, older kids can also search for small objects that have been hidden inside the spaghetti. Make it really challenging by having them close their eyes and only use their sense of touch as they search with their hands for things such as small rubber toys, bouncy balls, puzzle pieces, letter magnets, or other fun objects. This “tactile discrimination” is an important skill that helps kids develop higher level fine motor skills such as the ability to (un)button and (un)zip their own clothes, cut with scissors, or write with a pencil.
Feel free to share this post and idea with friends, and let me know if you get a chance to try it out! I’d love to hear how you used it, how your kiddo(s) responded, and what you’d do differently next time.