How to Easily Dye Pasta for Sensory Play

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Looking for a simple and fun way to engage your child’s senses and promote their development? Try dyed pasta for sensory play!

Dyed Pasta for Sensory Play & More

Engage your child’s senses and promote their development. One simple and fun activity that can achieve both goals is sensory play with dyed pasta. Not only is it a great way to stimulate your child’s senses, but it can also be an opportunity to work on fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creativity.

While many recipes call for cooking the pasta before dyeing it, it is possible to dye uncooked pasta for sensory play. This method can save time and effort, result in more vibrant colors, and provide a different texture than cooked pasta. Plus, it’s an activity that both you and your child can enjoy together.

In this blog post, we will explore how to dye pasta for sensory play without cooking it first. We will provide step-by-step instructions, tips and tricks, and ideas for how to use the dyed pasta in sensory play activities. Whether you’re looking for a fun indoor activity or a way to engage your child’s senses during a long car ride, dyeing pasta for sensory play is a great option that you won’t want to miss.



  • Uncooked dry pasta (e.g., penne, fusilli, macaroni)
  • Food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • Rubbing alcohol or vinegar
  • Plastic Ziploc bags
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet

Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids

Did you know I wrote a book of sensory bins? Click here for more information Exciting Sensory Bin for Curious Kids. Or grab your copy at Amazon

Boring afternoons are made exciting with awesome animal-based bins, like Salty Shark Bay or Yarn Farm. Pretend play bins like Birthday Cake Sensory Play or Bubble Tea Party encourage creativity and imagination. And your kids will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re getting smarter with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities like Sink or Float Soup, Magnetic Letter Hunt or Ice Cream Scoop and Count.

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Ideas for Sensory Play with Dyed Pasta

1. Sorting and Counting

Use the dyed pasta to help children practice sorting and counting. You can ask them to sort the pasta by color, size, or shape. You can also have them count the number of pieces in each color or shape.

2. Sensory Bins

Create a sensory bin by filling a plastic container with the dyed pasta. Add some scoops, spoons, and containers for children to play with. They can bury objects in the pasta and dig them out, create patterns or designs, or just run their hands through it.

3. Art Projects

Use the dyed pasta to create art projects. Glue the pasta onto paper to create a collage or use it to create a textured painting. You can also make necklaces or bracelets by stringing the pasta onto yarn or twine.

4. Letter or Number Recognition

Use the dyed pasta to help children recognize letters and numbers. Write letters or numbers on a piece of paper and have them match the pasta to the corresponding letter or number.

5. Storytelling

Use the dyed pasta to create a story. Have children pick out pieces of pasta that represent different characters or objects in the story. They can arrange the pasta on a piece of paper or in a sensory bin to act out the story.

Tips for Dyeing Pasta for Sensory Play

  • To make the colors more vibrant, add more food coloring or liquid watercolors.
  • If you don’t have rubbing alcohol or vinegar, you can also use hand sanitizer to help the dye adhere to the pasta.
  • If you want to make a larger batch of dyed pasta, use a large plastic container with a lid instead of a Ziploc bag. This will allow you to mix the pasta more easily and ensure even coloring.
  • If you’re worried about the dye staining your hands, wear gloves while dyeing the pasta. You can also use a spoon to mix the pasta in the bag instead of using your hands.
  • Be sure to supervise children while they are playing with the dyed pasta to ensure they don’t put it in their mouths. While the dye is non-toxic, the pasta can still pose a choking hazard.
  • If you don’t want to use food coloring or liquid watercolors, you can also use natural dyes such as beet juice, spinach juice, or turmeric. Simply mix the juice with rubbing alcohol or vinegar and add the pasta to the bag.
  • You can also add a few drops of essential oils to the pasta before dyeing. Essential oils can add an extra sensory element to your dyed pasta. You can experiment with different scents to create a calming or energizing atmosphere during sensory play. Lavender and chamomile essential oils, for example, are known for their relaxing properties, while peppermint and citrus oils can provide a refreshing and invigorating scent. However, it is important to note that essential oils should be used with caution around children, as some oils can be irritating or even toxic if ingested or applied directly to the skin. It is best to dilute the essential oils in a carrier oil or water before adding them to the pasta.

How to Dye Pasta for Sensory Play

  1. Prepare the dye: In a small bowl or cup, mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 10-20 drops of food coloring or liquid watercolors. You can adjust the amount of dye to achieve the desired color intensity.
  2. Add the pasta to a Ziploc bag: Add 1 cup of pasta it to a Ziploc bag. You can add as much or as little pasta as you want, depending on how much you want to dye.
  3. Add the dye to the bag: Pour the dye mixture into the Ziploc bag with the pasta. Make sure the bag is securely closed, then use your hands to mix the pasta and dye together. You can also gently shake the bag to distribute the dye more evenly.
  4. Let the pasta dry: Once the pasta is coated in dye, spread it out in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let it dry completely before using it for sensory play or storing it in an airtight container.


Toddler and Preschooler Curriculums, Books & TV Show!

Play2Learn Toddler & Preschool Programs for Curious Toddlers

There is no limit to your toddler’s energy and curiosity. That energy and curiosity although a joy can be challenging at times. Their interest in just about everything around them is what makes them great learners. One and two year olds can soak up so much just from their senses!

But as a teacher or parent that thirst for learning can be exhausting. That is why I created this toddler and preschooler program. To help you get the most out of this time with your curious toddler without having to come up with creative ways to play and interact with them.

Play2Learn for Toddlers includes 20 Units for toddlers. Each 2-week toddler unit has 20 super easy to set up and engaging activities for toddlers 18 months to 3 years.

Play2Learn Preschool which includes 20 Units for preschoolers. Each 2-week preschoolers unit has 20 unique and easy to set up and engaging activities for preschoolers 3 years to 5 years. That’s over 800 learning activities for your toddler and preschooler at your fingertips! So many ideas you and your child will never be bored again! 

These toddler and preschool lesson plans and activities will definitely keep you and your toddler and preschooler busy playing and learning!

Click here for more information: Play2Learn

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Book: Super STEAM Activity Book for Kids

Learning all about science, technology, engineering, art, and math sets kids up for scholastic success―and it can be so much fun! Watch kids enjoy building STEAM skills as they color friendly fish, help water find its way to tree roots, solve math problems with mazes, and more. 

Find out more and grab your copy here.

Designed for preschoolers 3 years old and up.

Book: Big Book of Riddles for Kids

Riddle me this: What’s an exciting way to practice critical thinking while having a blast? The Big Riddle Book for Kids, of course! From hilarious puns to tough brain teasers, kids can build problem-solving skills with hundreds of riddles that show them how to think outside the box.

  • 350 riddles for kids—Have hours of fun with riddles, puns and jokes, and math and logic puzzles that’ll get their wheels turning!
  • Level up their skills—Riddles get trickier as kids progress through the book, challenging them as they get better at solving puzzles!
  • Double-check their work—Kids can check their answers in the back of the book with a handy answer key.

Help children expand their minds while having fun with this puzzle book for kids!

Designed for kids ages 6 years old and up.

TV Show: Curious Crafting

I’m so excited to share my crafting TV show Curious Crafting which launched in July 2022 on TVOkids and TVOkids YouTube! Season 2 airs in the summer of 2023! We were also nominated in 2023 for Best Live Action Preschool Series by the Youth Media Alliance Awards of Excellence.

Set in the ultimate crafting space, Curious Crafting is a short form pre-school age series about the joy of making crafts. I lead a rotating cast of adorable little preschoolers (including my own) making magic out of common household objects.

In each episode we transform recycled items into magical crafts like a milk carton school bus, paper bag puppet or cotton pad turtle. The crafters learn and laugh their way through each activity while demonstrating what their young imaginations can create. 

Curious Crafting shares the adventure and joy of making art with takeaway lessons for creating crafts at home.

This show designed for toddlers and preschoolers 2.5 years old and up. 


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