Winter days are supposed to be short, right? So why do they always feel so loooong? It must have something to do with that dreadful daylight savings in the fall, followed by months of dark afternoons and stir crazy kidlets. On R’s preschool days, K and I do a medley of house stuff in the morning (cleaning, paper work, laundry), plus play time and miscellaneous work (article writing, researching, etc.). We pick up R at 1:00 on the dot — except for the days that leave me thirsting for some steamed caffeine, in which case the benefit of Starbucks outweighs the risk of being a few minutes late. We then chat and frolic on the school lawn for an hour or so, run an errand if necessary, and head on home, settling in between 2-3. My kiddos don’t go to sleep until somewhere in the 8 o’clock hour, so we’re left with lots of time to fill (especially since K still naps whenever the mood suits her, and mostly in the Ergo). The iPad and telly inevitably make an appearance, but I do try to incorporate at least one short and ostensibly enriching activity. This week, pasta coloring proved to be a fave from our short list and, as usual, it was simple and leaves us with various options for further crafting.
For many, this is a go-to project that requires no introduction, but for those of you who have yet to dye your hands alongside some noodles, read on.
Needed: pasta, food coloring, zip lock baggies, rubbing alcohol, parchment paper
1. Gather some food coloring and cheap (dry) pasta from your pantry. I prefer tubular and bow tie noodles, but we were square out of everything but spaghetti. Place the pasta in several zip lock baggies.
2. Squirt in 5-10 drops of food coloring and about 1 tbsp of alcohol into each bag (one color per bag).
4. Open up the bags over the sink and carefully pour out all excess liquid.
5. Layer a surface with parchment paper (I use a baking sheet) and spread out the noodles for drying. Make sure the noodles aren’t stacked or bunched, or else they’ll stick together. The parchment paper tries to ensure that the dye doesn’t permanently color your home. Newspaper will work just as well.
6. Use the noodles for crafts! Think noodle rainbows, collages, colorful stick houses, color sorting sensory bins, pasta people figurines (R’s favorite). And if you dyed penne or another tube noodle, you’ve got yourself some DIY beads!
What do you like to craft on these deceptively long days?