Kids are always told not to play with their food. Happily, some rules are made to be broken. There are many craft ideas to try using pasta and rice and not just those involving cooking with kids.
Pasta is available in many fascinating shapes and designs. Also, children thoroughly enjoy handling rice.
Pasta and rice make perfect musical instruments. Find empty lidded containers as the base for the new shaker. Fill with either rice or pasta and go mad with wonderful decorations. These include stickers, shapes, drawings or glitter. If you can’t find any containers, an empty cardboard roll will do the trick. Cover the ends with some strong greaseproof paper and secure tightly with elastic bands.
Younger children enjoy exploring the difference in sound between the pasta shakers and rice shakers.
Pasta jewellery is a firm favourite with younger children. Use shapes like macaroni or penne and thread together or alternately on woollen yarn. The same craft ideas can be used to create bracelets. The pasta pieces are easily coloured or sprinkled with glitter using PVA glue. If you don’t want to colour pasta, bear in mind that you can buy pasta in a few different colours such as red, black or green.
Pasta and rice are ideal for many collage craft ideas. Use a paper plate as a base for your collage and lots of PVA glue.
Kids enjoy making faces. All the fabulous pasta shapes available should provide plenty of inspiration. Pasta shells make super 3D eye sockets and ears, use fusilli spirals for hair, macaroni for the nose or mouth and finish with a dapper pasta bow tie.
Pasta bows make beautiful butterflies. They can be delicately painted with bright poster paints and dots of glitter. Create a wildlife background using lots of foliage and leaves made from the real thing or tissue paper. The kids then add their tiny pasta butterflies using lots of glue. This idea may be suited to older children who are able to do some really fine paint work.
Spaghetti would be perfect for making pictures if it wasn’t so stiff! This is easily remedied by simmering the pasta until it’s soft but not cooked! Add a drop of oil to the cooking water so the strands stay separate.
When the pasta is cool, the kids arrange it into fabulous shapes and patterns. They can create flowers, trees, pasta people or anything they fancy.
Add an extra dimension to the pictures by using sheets of lasagne. Lightly softened, they can be cut into desired shapes by the kids. If they want to keep their pictures, use glue with the pasta. Otherwise, pressing the finished picture between another piece of paper and a heavy weight will allow the pasta to dry out and stick to the paper.
Cooking with Kids
Cooking pasta and rice involves copious amounts of boiling water, so it’s not an ideal ingredient for cooking with kids. However, they are both clever props to encourage your child to eat their dinner. This is very easy if you show them how to make an edible picture on their plates.
A dollop of healthy pasta sauce is perfectly framed by a wild nest of spaghetti hair. Use carrots, peas and tomatoes to make a funny face and watch those dinners disappear!
Rice makes fabulous sculptures too. When cooked, press the rice firmly into a mould and turn out onto the plate. With green beans, olives and sweetcorn, kids can invent some really cute creatures.
If the kids are going to spend time handling their food, it’s hugely important that they pay attention to hand washing rules so their craft ideas remain hygienic.
Craft ideas using pasta and rice are perfect examples of the rule that crafts and cooking with kids don’t have to cost much at all. The simplest ingredients make the best fun.