Tag Archives: crafts

5 Ways to Use Dried Pasta

I like dried pasta, not as much as cooked pasta with arrabbiata and fresh veggies, but you can’t exactly do lessons and crafts with cooked pasta. Did you know it is not necessary to add oil to cooking pasta because high quality pasta should not stick together? It is also erroneous to throw a noodle on the wall to test whether it is cooked. There goes all the fun in cooking it! Try these ideas instead.

1. Life Cycle – Explore the butterfly life cycle. You will need a bead-like type of pasta to represent the egg, ziti for the larva or caterpillar, shells for the pupa or chrysalis, and farfalle for the adult butterfly. Use a paper plate divided into fourths. Label each stage in the life cycle and attach the appropriate pasta. Follow up the activity with a visit to a butterfly garden, found in many botanical gardens, where you can search for the different stages. Bring your chart for reference.

2. Sorting – Gather a variety of pasta shapes and mix them together in one bag or plastic container. Have your little learner(s) scoop out a handful and spread them on a cookie sheet. The child can then sort the pasta by shape and count them. You can create index cards with numerals to match to the sorted piles.

3. Patterns – Experiment with repeated designs of different shape, size, or color. You can color your own pasta or use vegetable pasta like spinach and tomato. Keep it simple with basic repeating patterns or make it challenging with growing patterns. Check out my repetition post for patterns in nature.

4. Graphs – Use pasta to create a pictograph. First, survey family and friends on their favorite variety of pasta. Then, create a pictograph revealing the results. What else can you graph?

5. Sound – Make maracas or shakers using paper plates. Decorate two small paper plates first. Then add a single type of pasta to a small paper plate, and place a second paper plate on top. Staple or tape around the sides. Create another shaker using a different type of pasta. Compare the sounds.


Too-big Shoes & Crafty Costumes

I like dressing up, though I don’t remember doing it much as a child. Like any kid, my imagination was big enough to include multiple wardrobes for all my role-playing adventures. However, dressing up did add a level of glamour and excitement. Most kids’ first experience with dressing up is to put on a pair of too big shoes and clip-clap around in them like their favorite adult! Read below to discover where you can dress-up in southern California and explore some crafty activities for your own home.

Maritime Museum of San Diego
This fleet of vessels includes the historic Star of India built in 1863. Families can dress up as emigrants as they explore the close living quarters.

Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena
The museum’s interactive exhibit titled Journeys: The Silk Road features a number of interactive elements including dressing as a camel handler or other traveling merchants.

Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
As I mentioned in a previous post on books, the Skirball Cultural Center had a temporary exhibition in 2010 titled Monsters & Miracles: A Journey through Jewish Picture Books. This interactive exhibition included an exhibit to create your own monster with materials that could be used in a variety of ways depending on where your imagination took you.

Creating a Monster at the Skirball

Disneyland, Anaheim
Sure there are plenty of dressed-up characters to meet, but have you ever visited the hat shop? It’s almost as much fun as riding the rides, but define buying parameters before entering so you don’t walk away with unwanted purchases or unhappy kids. All you really need is a camera to capture the transformation of your family into classic Disney characters or other animated favorites.

Comic-Con International, San Diego
Dressing up is not a requirement for this comic convention, but it provides a good excuse. It may be the largest spectacle of costumes outside of Halloween, though not all are family-appropriate. Sunday’s line-up tends to include a number of kid-friendly activities.

Try This:
1. Create your own costume or hat out of brown paper bags from the grocery store. Grab some markers, paint, colored paper, glitter, scissors and glue to create your very own fancy outfit or funky hat for your next pretend playtime adventure. This is a great way to design your own costumes for a family play or talent show. There are plenty of websites that offer directions for these silly creations. Just type in “brown paper bag hats/costumes.”

2. Mirror Mirror on the Wall…buy an inexpensive armoire mirror and hang it on a door or wall at kids’ height. Using wet or dry-erase markers (depending on how long you want the image to last), allow your child to draw a costume reflection on their mirror image. Who will you see the next time you look in the mirror – a king, witch, cowboy or pirate?

3. Design your own Barbie or doll clothes. Are you crafty enough to sew a miniature dress for a Barbie? Have your kids help by creating the design in a sketchpad and then picking out the fabric. Barbie won’t care if the seams aren’t straight!

4. After visiting a historical site where the family can dress up or at least the staff is dressed up, have your family compare and contrast past and present lifestyles. Kids can draw or write diary entries about their life in the historical time period of the cultural site you visited.

Dressing up on the Star of India