Sunday, February 14, 2010

Making Colored Pasta for Crafts and for Montessori Inspired P.L. Work

The new baby bow tie pasta...nice, deep colors...thanks to my Dear Hubby for lending a hand with dying the pasta...he loves to help out when a project involves using food coloring.

The twenty year old pasta...a little faded, but hangin' in there for yet one more year.

Well, after nearly twenty years (yes, I did say twenty and I am not exaggerating!) of using the same bag of colored pasta, I am cranking out some new pasta for some math work for my sons.

In 1990, shortly after moving to Virginia, I moved into an apartment and found out that my neighbor, Lauren, was also getting prepared to start her first year as a teacher.
We quickly became great friends and worked making materials for our classrooms and snacks for us to eat while we worked...

One of the first things we made was colored pasta for crafts.

We had gone to a variety of stores and bought several different types of pasta, including some little ones that looked like jungle animals, some that were sports themed, some alphabet pasta, and some penne, rigatoni, and wheels too.

Lauren knew a great trick to make the pasta colors dry faster, and that is that you add some rubbing alcohol to the food coloring so that the color dries faster.

Since it has been sooooooo many years since making this pasta, I am going to have to guess at the ratio of food coloring to rubbing alcohol...I think we just put several drops of food coloring and maybe either a teaspoon or a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol into a baggie...

Update: we used a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to several drops of food coloring and the colors turned out great!

Then, you shake the bag gently, pour the pasta onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, turn a fan on low to help dry the pasta, and voila! Colored pasta!

So that you will know, not all of the pasta lasted for all of the twenty years...
The alphabet pasta bit the dust first, as it was the most used by the children, but also the most fragile. The jungle animal pasta lasted and would probably still be in good condition if I knew where it was.

The real winners in the pasta longevity contest are the wheels, the rigatoni, and the penne.
Over the years, the colors only faded a little bit...and lo and behold, you can re - dye them to get a deeper, richer color after several years of use.

For today's pasta, we are going to dye Piccolini - Mini Farfalle.
Growing up, we just called these "baby bow ties".

As far as uses for these, we are going to use them as counters (to look like bow ties for clowns and to look like butterflies for Spring work).

I will also have them out from time to time for sorting, patterning, and dry transfer work.
As far as the other pasta...
Alphabet pasta - for letter and sound recognition, art work (name mosaics)
Jungle animal and sports pasta - counting, patterning, and sorting work
Penne, rigatoni, and wheels - for patterning, counting, and stringing (had these together as a mixed bag of pasta, along with colored plastic drinking straws...think that adding the drinking straws to the mix helped to keep the pasta from breaking in the bag.)

Will have to also share some of the other things we made way back when...such as some great dip for veggies and some awesome snack mix!

Mommies and teachers, snacks like these make work sessions so much fun, so I will get the recipes from Lauren and will share with you, too.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Leptir (NataĊĦa) said...

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Hugs from Croatia

Patty said...

I have some that is about that old too! LOL

Aly in Va said...

well talk about getting your monies worth!

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