Pasta Necklace

Today Reagan was a disaster; tearing apart every toy that ‘lives’ in the family room (as you can see in the background of all these pictures…HOT MESS!). I was attempting to put away things purchased from a trip to BJs (the TP that you see in the background), but Reagan wasn’t having it. She was in desperate need of a quick wind down activity.

A few months ago I dyed, with food coloring, a box of uncooked ziti. I wouldn’t repeat the way that I dyed the ziti because if Reagan puts it into her mouth, which I know she will, the food coloring wipes off onto whatever the ziti touches after getting wet. I need to find a better way to dye the pasta and when I do, I will be sure to share it with you! Nevertheless, I’m continuing to use the pasta until it’s gone.

Continuing on the path of strengthening her fine motor skills, I decided that Reagan could make a pasta necklace. We used a piece of ribbon that I cut long enough for Reagan to make a necklace that when tied would fit over her head, dried dyed ziti, and a pipe cleaner. The pipe cleaner is such an important part of this activity for Reagan. She struggles with stringing the ziti on a floppy piece of ribbon, I’m not sure what 15 month old wouldn’t. By twisting a pipe cleaner around the end of the ribbon, I am giving the ribbon support and allowing for Reagan to have something straight and sturdy to string her ziti on to.

By stringing a single piece of pasta and then tying it off with a knot, you are creating a stopper and are ensuring that not one piece of pasta will fall to the floor while stringing.

I poured out the dyed ziti bags onto a large rimmed plate, held up the pipe cleaner with the straw attached and told Reagan that we were going to string some ziti to make a necklace. We’ve done this multiple times, so I no longer need to show her how to string the ziti. The first few times that we did this activity I showed Reagan how to string the ziti, I then guided her hand to assist in stringing the ziti, all while verbally explaining what was happening.

A solid ten minutes is spent in deep concentration as Reagan chooses a colored piece of ziti, we say the color name, and then she strings it onto the pipe cleaner.

I tie the loose end to the tied noodle on the opposite side and BAM…a colorful ziti necklace!
I totally forgot to take a picture of the necklace yesterday, so here’s one the next morning. Oh, and checkout the toilet paper that is still sitting in the front hall.


Rice Play for Toddlers

I had some serious pot cleaning to do today, so I set Reagan up on a towel in the kitchen with an activity that she LOVES…playing with rice! I provide Reagan with various ‘tools’, such as spoons, forks, measuring cups, bowls, pots, pans and muffin tins. The cream colored circle thingy in the picture came with the Baby Bullet- it was used to freeze pureed foods. I don’t give her all of the ‘tools’ at once, by adding things as she plays, it allows for longer play time.


We have been doing this activity for several months now. When I first introduced rice play, a fantastic sensory activity to Reagan; I would sit on the floor with her and guide her in how to use the ‘tools’ that I provided her with. I began with only two bowls and a spoon until Reagan got the hang of scooping the rice from one bowl to the next. As Reagan masters the ‘tools’ that are provided, I add more ‘tools’ for her to explore with; showing her first a couple of ways to use them, before allowing her to explore independently. It’s amazing how her fine motor skills have progressed and she is able to use a table spoon to scoop rice from a bowl into 12 individual muffin tin spots.


The first several times that I did this activity with Reagan, we used Uncle Ben’s White Rice, because that’s what I had in the house. While cleaning out the cupboards one day I found an unopened bag of Lunderg’s Brown Basmati, which I believe Erin, my sister, gave to me to ground to feed to Reagan when she was just beginning to eat solids. Anyway, I continue to use Lunderg’s Brown Basmati because I find that it is smoother than the Uncle Ben’s White Rice but it’s totally a personal preference. FYI- we have been using the same bag of rice for 3 months now.


I will warn you that this activity is a bit of a mess until your child begins to figure out the ‘tools’ that they are given. At the beginning stages, I turned the messy cleanup into something fun for Reagan. She loves using the mini vacuum, so after she finished play, I would pick up the towel and the ‘tools’ and let her vacuums up all of the rice! At this stage, Reagan rarely gets any rice off of the towel, so the vacuum doesn’t even need to come out! An easy way to get the rice off of the towel is to lift the sides of the towel and allow the rice to roll to the middle. It’s so much easier to clean up the rice from one neat pile.


I keep the rice that we play with in a zip locked bag, labeled with her name in sharpie marker. I wouldn’t want to come home to my husband cooking rice that we play with on the floor with the stinky dog. As I said before, we have been using the same bag of rice for about 3 months now.



Use what you have and have fun with it!