All About Pasta – My Messy Box

All About Pasta


Materials Needed


 Introductory Activity


  • Different types of pasta such as penne, spaghetti, lasagne sheets, macaroni, fusilli
  • Tray/large plate to hold the pasta pieces
  • Table mat or any similar items
  • Red playdough (recipe is available for download)
  • Skip counting number lines



 Focused Activity





 Bonus Challenge I




 Bonus Challenge II





 Sensory Play




  • Empty container for sensory play
  • Spaghetti
  • Tongs/tweezer
  • Fork
  • Bowls
  • Soft toys/stuffed animals (to serve spaghetti to)
  • Cooking toy set or any cooking utensils such as spatula
  • Fake food toys such as plastic vegetables


Introduction: All about pasta


  1. Explore with different types of pasta

  2. Engage in simple counting, building and construction

  3. Develop fine motor skills by

(i) Using the pincer grip to pick up items

(ii) Strengthening hand and finger muscles through pressing and squeezing


Materials Needed




  • Make the playdough according to the recipe provided

  • Display the different types of pasta and playdough out on a tray or large plate

  • Lay out a table mat or something similar for your child to work the playdough on



  • Start off the activity by allowing child to press and poke pasta into the playdough

    • Guide children to observe imprints and patterns made in the playdough

    • If necessary, demonstrate picking up pasta pieces using the pincer grip i.e. just the thumb and index finger

  • Invite child to stack/put pasta pieces together to form a pasta tower

    • You may wish to engage in simple counting of the pasta pieces with your child while making the pasta tower

    • Older children can count out the pasta pieces in groups of 2, 3, 4 or 5 and then make multiple pasta towers based on their skip counting numbers

    • Older children can use the skip counting number lines to aid them in this activity


Focused Activity: Pasta Necklace 


1. Develop patterning skills by stringing different pasta shapes in a

(i) Repeating AB pattern (long > short > long) or

(ii) ABB pattern (long > short > short) or

(iii) According to child-determined attributes (i.e. color, size, shape)

2. Develop fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination by threading string through small/big pasta.


Materials Needed




  • Dye some pasta and leave them to dry for half a day.

  • Once dry, lay out the pasta in a sorting tray.



  • Invite your child to string the different types of pasta together in a repeating pattern onto yarn. You may use the patterning cards available as a guide.

  • As your child begins to understand the predictability of patterns, you may wish to have him/her string more patterns of other attributes such as color and size of pasta.


Bonus Challenge I: Pasta Differences 


1. Observe differences in texture, color, shape, size and weight between cooked and uncooked pasta.

2. Make simple recordings of observations through drawing or writing.


Materials Needed



  • Provide your child with cooked and uncooked pasta of any type. Let them see the differences in texture, weight, color, shape and size. Talk to them about what makes them different.

    • You may use the pasta flashcards to help you with identifying the various types of pasta

  • Guide your child to record his/her observations in the sheet provided:

    • Writing the name of the pasta under investigation using the flashcards provided

    • Drawing a picture of an uncooked pasta of choice

    • Drawing a picture of a cooked pasta

    • Recording physical properties of uncooked pasta (color, shape, size, texture, weight)

    • Recording physical properties of cooked pasta (color, shape, size, texture, weight)

  • To add on, you may print more observation sheets to document your findings of other pasta types.


Bonus Challenge II: Pasta Prints


1. Use pencil or other writing/drawing tools between first two fingers and thumb (tripod grasp).

2. Match identical pasta together.


Materials Needed



  • You may do this activity together with your child

  • Put different kinds of pasta on a piece of paper and trace around it

  • Fill the entire paper with pasta traces

  • Colour in the pasta prints and hang it up for display in the kitchen or anywhere else in the house

  • Alternatively, you may wish to print out the pasta prints resource and have your child colour in the various pasta pieces

    • You may prompt your child to try identifying various pasta pieces and finding identical pairs of various pasta types before colouring them in.


Sensory Play: Spaghetti Sensory Bin 


  1. Engage in pretend play such as cooking and serving

  2. Understand portion sizes by

(i) Practicing concepts of ‘too much’, ‘too little’ and ‘just nice’

(ii) Deciding which portion size is ‘just nice’ for child to finish


Materials Needed

  • Empty container for sensory play

  • Spaghetti

  • Tongs/tweezer

  • Fork

  • Bowls

  • Soft toys/stuffed animals (to serve spaghetti to)

  • Cooking toy set or any cooking utensils such as spatula

  • Fake food toys such as plastic vegetables




  • Cook spaghetti until slightly before it reaches al dente

    • Having a slightly harder spaghetti for play prevents it from being mushy during play

  • Leave spaghetti to cool before pouring it out into a bin for the activity later

  • Arrange items such as the plate/bowl, fork and tongs in the sensory bin


Activity 1:

  • Encourage child to pretend to cook the spaghetti in a pretend pot i.e. a bowl

  • Suggest different actions for your child to engage in such as:

    • Transferring the spaghetti from the bin to the pretend pot

    • Stirring the spaghetti in the pretend pot using circular motions

    • Pouring out spaghetti back out into the bin or into a bowl

    • Chopping up the various vegetables and adding them into the pot of spaghetti

Activity 2:

  • Experiment with serving different amounts of spaghetti in the bowls for the various stuffed animals

    • Allow child to fill a bowl till it is full before saying “That bowl is full! I think that’s too much spaghetti. I don’t think baby giraffe can finish that.”

    • Use another bowl and guide child to fill the bowl again before either saying '“That’s too little” or “That’s just nice”

    • Child may choose to use the tong or fork to scoop the spaghetti into the bowls

  • After experimenting with various portion sizes, parent can ask child “Can you scoop some spaghetti for yourself?”

    • Parent guides child to eventually scoop just the right amount of spaghetti for himself/herself

  • Some guiding questions:

    • Do you think you can finish this bowl of spaghetti?

    • Is it too much, too little or just nice?

  • Older children can practice concepts of ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’ when playing with the sensory bin

    • Be sure to have small, medium or large bowls/plates when doing this activity