Noodle Knowledge

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Travis’s latest Raddish Kids included this cute lesson, a chance to learn more about noodles and pasta – and the difference between them!

To start things off, I set out a station where he could explore a wide variety of pasta shapes and sizes.  Our array included: rotini, cavatappi, spaghetti, elbow macaroni, small shells, and penne.

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I challenged him to talk about the differences and similarities that he noticed. Some were long (spaghetti), some were short (cavatappi). Some were straight (penne), some were curly (rigatoni), etc.

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This is a fun chance to introduce your kids to the idea of a Venn diagram, showing how categories can overlap. Older kids, especially, might enjoy drawing detailed diagrams, although we kept ours simple.

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Once the exploration was done, we set up a game! Travis’s goal was to match up each pasta shape with its name, using yarn to connect them. This was also great for sight-reading!

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He was so into it that he wanted to snack on cooked spaghetti. This made for the perfect nosh while we watched a few suggested videos that delved deeper into the history of pasta.

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Make sure to check out a world map for a visual of key countries, like China and Italy.

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We had to finish with fun stories, of course. Raddish suggested The Great Pasta Escape by Miranda Paul and Noodle Magic by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, among others.

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I was surprised to see no mention of Strega Nona, the most classic spaghetti story I can think of, so we added that in. Afterwards, both kids wanted to play “Strega Nona” with a magic pot and leftover dry spaghetti, which was perhaps the best part of the whole lesson.

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Rainbow Jello Sensory Play

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I originally intended this as a sensory project for Veronika, but it turned out that my kindergartner loved it just as much; it was a nice reminder that even though he’s into battling Star Wars Lego figures, he’s still a little boy at heart.

First you’ll need to make jel dessert in all colors of the rainbow. Regular jell-o is available in every color, but not the vegan brands. I can find vegan jel dessert in red, orange, and yellow, but for the other colors, I use clear jel dessert and add food coloring.

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Prepare all the colors, then set in the fridge until firm. (Note: the green never did firm up, which may have been because I used too much food coloring and made it too watery. As a result, our sensory play had a variety of textures).

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Spoon the jel desserts onto a tray in rainbow order. It won’t stay this way for long…

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I placed the tray over a few towels and stripped Veronika down to a diaper – no worry about sticky clothes here – then let her loose with spoons and spatulas. She immediately got started!

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As mentioned, big brother Travis wanted an equal share of this project. He couldn’t wait for a jello snack.

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And just to play!

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Soon the kids were scooping and stirring and mushing. They layered rainbow “cakes” and stirred up rainbow “soup”. “Soup!” Veronika proudly repeated back when Travis used the word.  There were lots of fun vocab words to use, like soupy and lumpy and blobby and wobbly.

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Plus: “Yummy!” she said, whenever she got a little taste. A perfect way to fill over 30 minutes of play.

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