This simple, almost ZERO set-up Spaghetti Sensory Bin is one of my all time favorites.
And my little munchkin totally agrees with me on that.
It’s a no-fail, last minute set up messy play that always, ALWAYS wins.
This sensory bin is perfect for sitting babies (with close adult supervision) AND toddler. So if you have siblings, it’s a double win.
You don’t need any special equipment or supplies. You already have everything you need right in your pantry.
Forget those perfect, rainbow colored spaghetti you’ve seen on Pinterest or Instagram, forget those baby unicorns and wooden rainbow figurines wearing hats that look like gnomes (aren’t they adorable though?).
All this is a nice add-on if you have:
- Mental energy to create and design a picture perfect sensory bin.
I know, in most cases, human non-instagram moms like us, don’t have either on the above.
Trust me, your little one will have just as much fun with this simple sensory bin as with an equal one plus bell and whistles.
In fact, it’s best to have some kind of sensory bin, than to postpone this activity and not doing it at all.
So let’s what exactly you need for this messy and how to take the most out of it.
You might feel sad that you’re “wasting” food. It was especially hard on my Italian in-laws (sigh). But in all honestly, if that bothers you, think of how much leftovers you’re throwing away on a daily basis.
And if you look really well, you might even find a pack of spaghetti that went over its shelf-life. Feel better now?
Spaghetti Sensory Bin
Set Up: 4 minutes (if time for cooking spaghetti counts)
Use: can be used 2 times (see my tips below)
Age: 12 month + but can be adapted for younger babies (with very close supervision during play)
- Big plastic container + 1-3 smaller containers/baskets. Smaller containers are optional but highly recommended (I’ll explain why below).
- 1 Pack of under-cooked spaghetti
- Tongs, spaghetti spoon or other kitchen tools to manipulate pasta.
- Bed sheet or a piece of fabric to use as an activity mat for easy cleaning
How To Make Spaghetti Sensory Bin
Cook spaghetti in boiling water until they are soft but not the full time indicated on the package. They should be under-cooked otherwise they’ll break and turn into a mush in blink of an eye.
Under-cooked spaghetti will also be in a good shape to reuse them as sensory bin material the next day.
Once spaghetti are cooked (under-cooked :D), flip them into a colander and run under cold water.
Place in a plastic container. Add kitchen tools. Play.
This time we used our Flisat table for the activity. I filled one container with spaghetti and another container with water. And OMG! Water made such a difference. Mr. 17 months old was engaged for almost a whole good hour.
We did this sensory bin multiple times when he was younger and sometimes I omitted the water bin. He still liked it but adding a second basket with water doubles the fun.
Looking for more sensory play ideas for your little one? Check also:
Tips For Making The Most Out Of Spaghetti Sensory Bin
- Under cook spaghetti. Easier to play with, easier to clean.
- Use smooth fabric like bed sheet for lining to contains eventual mess (most definitely lol). Fluffy fabrics like bath towels are much harder to clean. Cleaning is also easier when spaghetti are fresh and not dried out.
- This activity is great to be done in a bath tun but beware that not all kids like the feeling of spaghetti on their feet.
- Place around the main bin a few more empty containers or laundry baskets.
I figured this way they have a purpose of transferring spaghetti in the other bin rather than flying them “all around”.
- Tasting is pretty much inevitable but good this is that this sensory bin is absolutely taste safe. You still have to keep a close eye on the kiddo. If you want to minimize tasting attempts, do this activity right after a meal. There’s far less impulse to eat play materials when you have a full tummy.
- Definitely reuse spaghetti for the second time. Simple store them in a plastic container with lid in the fridge for max 2 days. Run them under warm water before playing the second time or leave as is if you want to add some coolness during hot summer days.
If you want to reuse spaghetti the second time make sure you remove them immediately after use and won’t let them dry out completely.
What are your thoughts?
Are you going to give this spaghetti sensory bin a try?
Let us know in the comments how it goes!