If you’re looking for a good rainy day activity that doesn’t cost any money, pasta threading is really simple but so effective. It is a great activity for toddlers to develop their fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and concentration. You can also use it to work on counting, colour recognition, or sequences and patterns for older children.
You can use plain pasta, or dye it using the same method I used to make my Rainbow Rice. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and is best left to dry overnight.
I chose to dye the pasta to make it look more interesting, and also because Ollie is just learning to recognise colours. So I used this as an opportunity to see if he could remember the colour names, and get him to repeat them each time he threaded one. If your little one is prone to putting things in their mouth, you might want to use plain pasta as the dye will start to come off when it gets wet.
We started with paper straws as they’re sturdy enough for little fingers to grab and poke into the pasta holes. It took Ollie a while to get the hang of it and I had to help him out to start with. Once he’d had a bit of practice he managed to do it by himself quite easily. He has done a lot of threading activities before, so I made it a bit more challenging.
I joined a few pipe cleaners together and curled one end up so the pasta couldn’t slide off. The pipe cleaner is more bendy which makes it tricker for little hands. It took Ollie a lot longer to get the hang of this one and you could really see the concentration on his face! Once I’d shown him how to do it and he’d had a few attempts there was no stopping him. He was so pleased with himself he stopped after each piece to clap for himself!
Ollie’s also really into counting at the minute – despite the fact he can only get to 2 on his own!
He loves repeating the numbers when I count them out, so I counted as he thread each piece on, and he repeated each number back to me.
This activity is so easy to prepare and didn’t cost me a penny as I had all the ingredients at home. It’s very easy to adapt aswell for different abilities.
I used a pretty thin rigatoni but you can get pasta with bigger holes in most supermarkets. You could make this easier by using chunkier pasta and something stiff to thread on to like straws or lollipop sticks. You could even stick them down using sellotape or plasticine to make it easier to thread onto.
Or for older children, make it more challenging by using penne or giving them something more tricky to thread like a shoelace or ribbon. You could even get older children to make their own pasta jewellery!
Ollie was 18 months old when we tried this activity