Sunday, March 9, 2014

Making rainbows with pasta, pony beads and play dough

After a heavy down pour over the weekend, it was so lovely to see a beautiful rainbow. It was my daughters first ever rainbow and she was so interested in it. We talked about why rainbows happen for example sunlight passes through the raindrops and this causes it to separate the sun light into its individual colours. For more information about why rainbows, has more details.

The next day, I saw  activity, using dried spaghetti, pony beads and play dough. I knew Bee would love this as it was following her interest and would build on her experience of seeing the rainbow the other day. Thank you for your idea and inspiration.

Who can play?
Children 3 years and above, depending on their age and stage of development.

Small beads can easily be stuffed up noses or swallowed, so supervision is required at all times.

What do we need:

  • Three tubs to contain the items needed for this activity
  • Dried spaghetti at different lengths
  • Rainbow coloured pony beads
  • Green play dough
  • Rainbow template
What did we do?
Firstly I set up the activity and left it on the table before lunchtime. Sometimes I find this a good idea to do this, as it can keep them occupied as you 'try' to make a meal (if they are not involved in making it with you)
I wanted to see what she would do with the equipment without direction.


When she saw the activity she went straight for the play dough, manipulating it with her fingers and pushing it onto the table. 
Picking up a piece of dried spaghetti, she poked holes in the dough.

 "Look Mummy" she said "I have made a face, with hair, cheeks, eyes and a nose" She said it was her little cousin.


Next she popped a piece of spaghetti in the middle of the dough and said it was a lollipop. Bee made one for me too and as we pretended to eat them, mine snapped "never mind" she said" I will have a small one too" and snapped hers in two, so it was the same size as mine.
We played with the dough and the spaghetti for a while and Bee made some models, by pushing lots of spaghetti into the dough. Bee said her model was a mouse.


Bee then spotted the beads and began to thread them carefully onto the spaghetti, saying "better be careful not to poke myself up the nose" She showed a lot of concentration and would count the beads as she would post them on.


Next, so began pushing the beads into the dough, making patterns. Then we played hide and seek with the beads in the dough.


I was surprised when Bee decided to put a piece of spaghetti in the bowl of beads and pick one of them up. "I'm fishing" she said "wanna play it with me?" How could I refuse?! She would carefully place her spaghetti into the centre of the pony bead and tilt it back, making the beads go down to the end.


Towards the end, Bee looked at the rainbow template. She talked about the colours and said that she could match the beads to the correct colours.

 We sang the rainbow song:

Red and yellow and pink and green.
Orange and purple and blue.
I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow,
Sing a rainbow too.
The also said the rainbow poem:

Richard of York, gave battle in vain.

When tidying the activity away, Bee spent a few minutes snapping the spaghetti into little pieces. She commented on them getting smaller the more she snapped them.
This activity lasted quite a while and Bee showed a lot of interest and concentration. 
What started off as what I thought was a rainbow threading activity, turned into so much more. Just goes to show if you allow children to play and experiment they will use their creativity and explore.

What did we learn?
Mathematics- Counting pony beads. Learning about long and short when breaking up the spaghetti
Communication and language- Discussing what they are doing.
Personal, social and emotional- Searching for someone to share their experiences with. Fun and enjoyment.
Physical- Fine manipulative, such as pushing, pinching and manipulating the dough. Developing hand eye coordination when placing the pony beads onto the spaghetti.
Understanding of the world- Talking about members of her family.
Literacy- Developing the skills to hold a pencil when picking up the small beads in a tripod grip.
Expressive arts and design- Designing her own pattern with the pony beads. Making models and creating faces. Singing the Rainbow song. Making up her own games.

What could we do next?
  • Make rainbows out of play dough
  • Thread beads onto pipe cleaners if your child gets a bit frustrated with the spaghetti breaking
  • You could also add a different variety of threading tools to this activity, such as wool, sticks etc.

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