Colored Pasta: A Fantastic Sensory Table Activity

Published: 07th July 2010
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The preschool sand and water table is truly an innovative sensory learning center that can be filled with many different materials for children to explore. Broadly, a sand and water table creates hands on play, whereby preschool children play with objects at the table while naturally increasing sensory development, motor skill development and coordination.

Colored Pasta Activity

In reality, many items can be put into the sand and water table to keep it an interesting, dynamic place for children to play. Try filling the sand and water table with bags of dry, multi-colored, multi-shaped pasta for a fun variation on the sand and water table theme.

Sorting by Color

Sorting is a perfect activity for preschool children. A table full of pretty colored pasta will draw them in, begging to be sorted into matching colors. Provide small cups for them to put pasta of the same color in, and then ask them to count how many they found of each color.

Sorting by Shape

The pasta sorting can be taken to the next level if you provide pasta of different shapes. Once the children sort the pasta by colors into the cups provided, they can further sort the pasta by different shapes. Then, ask them to count how many round, red pasta shapes, then how many blue round shapes. Providing a wide variety of colors and shapes allows for hours or even days of fun with sorting activities.

Using the Senses

Invite the children to close their eyes while they dig their hands into the pasta. Have them pick up individual pieces and feel the edges with their fingers. Ask them to notice if the pasta is pointy or soft, smooth or rough. Ask them if they can tell what shape the pasta is with their eyes closed, or if they can guess the color of the pasta they're holding. They can also play with the sounds pasta makes when it is poured from a cup held above the table. Ask them if the sound is similar to other sounds they know.

Pasta Pros and Cons

One advantage of using multi-colored and multi-shaped pasta for sand and water table exploration is that it is dry and easy to clean up. If it gets wet, it is less likely than rice to grow harmful bacteria. However, its small shape does make it a possible choking hazard, so it may not be suitable for younger preschool children who are still putting everything in their mouths. The upside is that it is edible, should a student decide to experiment with their sense of taste.

Changing up the contents of the sand and water table helps keep this important preschool fixture fresh and inviting. Sand and water activities can be used for free play, as well as for asking questions about the materials and encouraging the children to use all of their senses while playing.

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