At CEFA, we use coloured pasta in our sensory bins, especially in our CEFAbaby and Junior Kindergarten One classrooms. This is a fun activity that you can use to teach your children new things plus they can also enjoy the fun of making it with you! Make sure to save the pasta once you are finished and then present it to your children as a sensory bin (see below) another day.

This is an activity that is inexpensive to make and thrilling for children. Plus, you get several days of play out of it as well! Please note this game is safe if children happen to put the pasta in their mouths, although you should avoid when possible.

How to make it


  • Water
  • Uncooked pasta noodles of any shape and size
  • Packets of Kool-aid
  • Medium resealable bags or use any containers with tight lids you have around the house.
  • A sensory bin. Use anything you might already have at home. I like the ones with lids because they are easy to store and put away when you need (under the bed is the perfect place!). We use these bins for so many different sensory activities in the classrooms, and when my children were little, I always had one in their room that I changed every week or two. Now that they are 18 and 20 years old, that poor bin retired and found its way to one of our CEFA schools  If you don’t have something to use around the house, you can purchase one here

Optional Ingredients

  • Food colouring – you don’t need it but it makes it so much prettier! 

Let’s get started!

  • Place 2 cups of pasta into a resealable bag. Use a different bag for each colour and/or variety of pasta you want to make.
  • In separate bowls, mix 1 package of Kool-Aid to 1/8 cups of hot water and stir until it is dissolved. You will prepare one bowl per colour you wish to use.
  • When all the colours and bags of pasta are ready, you can pour one Kool-Aid mix into one bag of pasta and repeat with the rest of the colours and bags. Now you will have several bags of different colours.
  • Seal the bags very tightly and mix them well until all pasta noodles are saturated with colour.
  • Open the bags and leave the pasta inside to dry.
  • Wait 5 or 6 hours and voilà! The pasta is dry, beautiful, and ready for more play!
  • You can put it in the sensory bin and add kitchen gadgets such as:
    • Tongs
    • Toys
    • Any recycled items
    • Anything the children can use to measure, fill, pour, count, play with, etc.

Learning opportunities

Children will learn STEM while dyeing the pasta because it’s a science experiment. Questions you can ask your child during the experiment are:

  • Will it dry?
  • Will it absorb the colour?
  • What will it smell like after it’s dry?
  • How long will it take to dry?
  • Will it feel different?

By helping you measure, mix, describe textures and colours, as well as the intensity of the colours as they get absorbed, they will be using math. As they are mixing and pouring, following all the steps, they are learning sequencing, which is great for reading as well as math.

CEFA tip: Remember to let your child do as much of the process as they are capable of. This means they measure, mix and pour (not you).

The process of making the coloured pasta offers an incredible amount of sensory learning. Children will smell different scents, feel the types of pasta and compare their texture (smooth versus ribbed, straight versus twisted). Sensory learning is especially important for writing. While you play with your child, use vocabulary to describe:

  • How the pasta feels
  • How the colours smell
  • How they taste (if you dare to let them lick their fingers)

Don’t forge to use math vocabulary such as:

  • Measuring
  • Volume
  • Quantities (more than, less than, the same amount, 1 cup, etc.)
  • Cold
  • Cool
  • Warm
  • Colour

Describing while using vocabulary is one of the most important learning outcomes at this age. It teaches them reading and mathematics.

This activity also teaches your child patience as they have to wait 5-6 hours until the pasta dries and they can finally see if it works, and then play with it.  This activity also improves your child’s ability to focus on one task (attention span) – especially once they get to do other activities with the pasta, like sorting or lacing – which all contribute to your child’s social and emotional development.

Once the pasta is dry, you can use it for sorting activities or for patterning activities.

Things to keep in mind

  • Make sure you do this experiment on a surface that is easy to wipe such as the kitchen counter or in the bathtub. You are, after all, handling bags with very colourful liquid!