Learning Colours & Rainbow Pasta

Lately Emily has been showing a real interest in colours and learning what each colour is called, but learning can be tedious for a toddler. I wanted to find a way to teach Emily her colours, while having fun. I strongly believe that incorporating learning into fun activities is the easiest way to keep a toddlers attention. Emily has been loving the book 'the dinosaur that pooped a rainbow'. It keeps her attention for quite a while and she loves making everyone read it to her, I think I now know the book word for word. So I decided to create a rainbow out of coloured pasta.

How to dye the pasta
Seperate the pasta into 7 bags, I used 200g of penne pasta per colour.
Add a bloob of paint into the bag, tie it and shake. This is a brilliant time to get your little on involved, you can let them shake the bag and watch the pasta change colour.
Once the pasta is coated, lay it out on some baking paper and leave it to dry over night. 

In the morning I got out the tuff spot and laid the coloured pasta in a rainbow shape, ready for Emily to explore. As soon as she saw it she was interested in the activity, she came to the tray to look at the pasta and then started to walk away. I was a little concerned that she wasn't interested in it, but to my surprise she brought over the 'Dinosaur that pooped a rainbow' book. I didn't want to interrupt her thought process so I just watched her, waiting to see what she would do. She placed the book on the tray under the rainbow and opened the book up. She then looked at me and said 'wow', as if she was comparing the two.

Emily then began to mix the colours together, she constantly asked 'what's this' and then repeated the names of the colours after I had told her them. She also enjoyed tipping the pasta into various pots and pans (These have come from her play kitchen). She also used some spoons to scoop the pasta up, Emily really enjoyed scooping the pasta and trying to get it to balance on the spoon while she transferred it to a pot. 

I then reintroduced the book as Emily started to get a little bored with the activity. We read the book and she listened to the words carefully. When I read a colour she would repeat it and then look for the correct colour pasta to match. Once I had finished reading the book, she then started to pick up individual bits of pasta and line them up on top of the rainbow in the book.

Once Emily had finished lining up the pasta in the book, she went back to playing in the tuff spot. She then wandered off and brought back her Dinosaurs, she began to put them on the tray and pretend to feed them the pasta, she would then sprinkle the pasta on top of the dinosaurs in a attempt to bury them. She happily filled the pans up with pasta, and then put the dunosaur head in the pan saying 'mmm, mmm' as if they were eating the pasta. 

I was very surprised by Emily's reaction to this activity, she really enjoyed it and we had the pasta out twice in one day. She played with it for a good 3-4 hours. I was really impressed when she added her own touches to the activity such as bringing the dinosaurs to the table and associating both the rainbow and dinosaurs with the book. She also enjoyed making the dinosaurs 'roar'. I have put the pasta into a container and put it away for another day, because the pasta is dried the pasta can be used several times over.

Areas of learning
As a nursery practitioner I was required to track the development of the children in my care. Using the 7 areas of learning and development as set out by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Using the Early Years objectives as a guide I was able to observe the following during play.

Communication and language
- Concentrates intently on an object or activity of own choosing for short periods
- understand 'who', 'what' and 'where' in simple questions. (E.g 'Who's that, What's that' 'where is')
- Uses sounds in play (e.g 'brrrm' for a toy car)
physical development
- Shows control in holding and using jugs to pour, hammers, books and mark-making tools.
Personal, social and emotional development
- seek out others to share experiences.
- Intrested in books and rhymes and may have a favourite.
- Beginning to organise and catergorise objects (E.g putting all the teddy bears together or teddies and cars in separate piles.)
- Enjoys filling and emptying containers.
Expressive arts and designs
- Beginning to make-believe by pretending.

The Early Years Outcomes document is a non statutory guide to support practitioners. It can be used by childminders, nurseries and others such as ofsted, throught the Early Years as a guide for making best fit judgement about whether a child is showing typical behaviour for their age, may be at risk of delay or ahead for their age.


  1. Wow this looks like a fun way to teach these subjects, well done!

  2. This is such a great idea and the colour takes so well to the pasta! I'll need to try it with my son when he's a little older

  3. I think this is a fab activity to teach colours! Sophie would love it! x

  4. this is a fantastic idea. The large tray / table looks good too - I'd love one!

  5. This is such a clever activity to do. I really don't have the creative mind to come up with ideas like this, but I'm going to try this with my son. He'll love it!

  6. Such a lovely idea, I wish my daughter was young enough to try this with, she would have loved it when she was younger.

  7. Wow! I'm so impressed by this such a great way to get your little one to learn their colours. What is the play table you are using? X

  8. SUCH a good idea. I might do the same for my niece I've got a feeling she'd love it too. Making learning fun is what it's all about!

    Alina | DIY lifestyle blog

  9. I love this idea! Had never considered doing this before - it looks like so much fun!

  10. This is a very clever and fun activity. Going to try it.

  11. I think this is such a fantastic way to teach our little ones about colours - makes learning such a fun experience for them. xx

  12. This is a brilliant activity! We love using our tuff spot for activities like this, but I haven't tried dying pasta in this way before... I'm taking notes :)

  13. Oh this is just brilliant, I now want rainbow pasta! x

  14. Such a fab activity to do definitely bookmarking this so I can do with y son at a later date.

  15. That is such an awesome idea! My little girl would love this!

  16. This looks like so much fun. You always come up with the loveliest activities for Emily :)

  17. This is brilliant. I'm gonna do it. I didn't even think to dye pasta like that. I thought you had to use food colouring x

  18. This looks great, I love activities based on books.

  19. Looks great fun and a great way to learn about rainbows and colours. Might just have to do this at some point as M loved the Dinosaur that pooped a rainbow too!

  20. This is such a good idea!! I need to do this.

  21. Such a great. I've never even thought of dyeing pasta.


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