I saw the weather was looking rather rainy this week and decided it was a perfect time to introduce a new sensory bin. So Rainbow Noodles it was; I thought it would be perfect with last weekend celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! I have been wanting to make these with my boys for a while and couldn’t wait to see how they would respond to the texture. I have to admit I had a lot of fun playing with these as well!
The “Sensory Bin” I used I bought specifically for sensory/playing activities because of its large size and perfect depth! I purchased the bin at Ikea. Click Here to see the bin at Ikea.com! You can also purchase a lid for the bin.
How to Make the Rainbow Noodles:
1. Boil a pot of water and place the noodles in the pot (unbroken). Cook the noodles until they are soft and flexible but a little al’dente.
2. Drain the noodles, and rinse them in cool water to stop the cooking process. Next, dry them well and separate the noodles into different bowls (depending on how many colors you want) to color them.
3. Drop food coloring on top of the noodles and stir lightly with a fork until all the noodles are colored evenly. Add more food coloring for darker/brighter colors.
4. Let the noodles sit, dry, and soak up the coloring for about 20-25 minutes.
5. Dump the colors into the Sensory Bin and lead your child in a few parent-guided play activities or let them have self-guided play time (always supervised).
6. *Note: Parents do not worry, the coloring may come off a little on their hands but it actually stays on the noodles really well. A simple hand washing takes the coloring off easily; just be sure to stir the noodles really well in the coloring and give them time to dry!
Parent-Guided Play to Child/Self-Guided Play
1. Review the colors with your child by asking them to “find a red noodle, now try to find a purple noodle…etc.”
2. Help your child to lay the noodles out on a paper plate creating a rainbow with their colored noodles. Read or remind them of the story of Noah in the Bible where God made the first rainbow as a promise to never flood the earth again. (A great reminder as it is pouring down rain and our yard is flooding!)
3. Have your child count noodles. (ex. Ask them if you can buy 5 “worms.” Then ask them if you can buy 3 more. etc.)
4. Describe the noodles in oral language to your child as “slimy, slippery, wet.” These are words that with a tangible example are very hard for children to understand. Ask them how the noodles feel to them, encourage them to use these new adjectives in their speaking.
5. Measure the noodles with your eyes. (Which noodle is longer? Which noodle is shorter? Can you find two noodles the same size?) Play is a great opportunity to introduce new words into your child’s vocabulary and encourage them to “play” with using those new words when speaking as well.
1. Allow your child to play with the Sensory Bin on their own.
2. Give them guidelines/expectations (ex. keep everything inside the bin, do not eat anything in the bin, etc.).
3. Keep your eye on what your child is doing. Watch for things to praise your child for (ex. sharing, obeying your guidelines, etc.)
*Note: Watching your child play from afar is a great way to take inventory of skills you should work on with them (ex. character traits, fine-motor, etc.).
(This was my little guy’s first reaction to touching the rainbow noodles. )