Such a variety of pasta available and can easily be turned into an inexpensive material to be used with preschoolers! When reading through the ideas below, remember that you can often incorporate more than one skill with each activity.
Teach Preschool has an excellent post regarding using food for play.
I did not have my number kites easily accessible at the moment so just drew you a picture of what we sometimes do with our bow tie pasta. I have a set of foam kites with numerals up to 15 printed on them. They all have a piece of yarn attached. Children order them from 0-15 and then add the corresponding number of bows to the string. I've also provided blank kites and they have created patterns with their bows. For toddlers I have them put as many bows on the kites string as they want but they match the bow color to the color of the kite.
by type by color and type
Shape and Number Formation
Tens and Ones
Non Standard Measurement
Children glued a pasta flower on each stem and then dripped colored glue to make raindrops. We slanted the page a bit to get the drip look. This was a two day project as the glue for the pasta took awhile to dry. We did the glue rain drops first thing in the morning and they were dry by lunch time. If you'd like a page similar to this one you can download it here. In the file there is the blue background and white, in case you have light blue construction paper or card stock and want to save in
Listen to or sing a very simple, well-known song. For example, Twinkle Twinkle. With your hand, show how the notes go up and down as you sing. Then sing it again, but this time have the children place a piece of pasta to represent the notes. The goal hear how the music goes up, down or stays the same. I use at least a 12x18 piece of construction paper or large piece of foam/felt for this activity.
Making use of those lovely dollar store flashcard sets. :-) Here we are listening for word chunks/syllables. A very common early literacy activity. We often "clap out" the syllables but I find my younger preschoolers can clap out the chunks but then can not transfer the number of claps into an actual number. For example, they'll clap 2 times and say 3. So using a manipulative, such as pasta, allows for them to work with chunking in a more concrete way.
I like to do this sort of activity with older preschoolers and kindergarten students. The goal here is to place a pasta for each sound you hear. When I do this with a child I do not show them the spelling until after they have put their pasta down. I find with older children, this is a great way to introduce and explore with the different letter combinations that make one sound. For example... bee. You can only here the b and the long e but in reality it's spelled bee and when you see /ee/ it makes the long e sound.
I'll share a couple ideas from other blogs.
For younger students/toddlers use larger noodles. Use smaller for older students. Taping the end of the lacing yarn works nicely as well.
Pasta Sensory Tub
Feel free to share some of the ways you have used pasta! I'm always on the look out for new ideas!