Are you looking for ideas for an easy DIY toddler fine motor activity? Are you stuck inside and need to entertain energetic toddlers? Activities to entertain my kids are key to planning my days. I’m always looking for easy, cheap ways I can keep the kids happy and get some work done.
I looked at my news feed this morning to see that New York is blanketed under FEET of snow. COVID is getting worse. My sister-in-law is texting me about the line at Target. Guess I won’t be shopping today. We’re out of some of our sensory activity supplies and our favorite foods.
So, looking at my pantry I look at what I have to entertain the little predatory toddlers lurking by my ankles. It looks like I have an abundance of noodles. When COVID first hit noodles went on sale for 10 for $10. As a natural hoarder, this was my opportunity to stock the pantry with food my girls love! They particularly like the veggie noodles. Even though they aren’t whole grain, I can console my mom-guilt that at least they have some nutritional value.
In my mission to build my children’s healthy relationship with food, I try to involve my children in cooking as much as possible. Playing with pasta has always been a treat for my girls. They love when I give them each a box of pasta, a bowl, and a spoon and let them go wild all over the kitchen. This time, I hoped I could make the activity last a little longer, be a little less messy, and help boost their fine motor skills.
My Toddlers Love This Activity!
It is not often that I can think up toddler fine motor activities. I can usually think of great sensory activities, but purposeful motor activities, not so much.
My elder daughter’s eyes lit up as I showed her how to slip the noodles onto the spaghetti. She became focused on ensuring that each of her towers had the same type of noodle. She loved finding different holes in the macaroni and figuring out if they would slip onto the spaghetti. When noodles broke, she would arrange them into designs on her tray.
My younger daughter was fascinated by how the noodles stuck out of the sausage and made it her quest to stuff as many spaghetti noodle fragments into the sausage as possible.
A good 30 minutes of silent exploration went by! 30 QUIET MINUTES! Once their attention had dwindled, I capped off their towers with more sausage, boiled the noodles, added sauce, and lunch was served. They couldn’t have been happier to get to eat their creations!
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Supplies for the Noodle Fine Motor Activity
This activity is easy to set up, doesn’t require any fancy supplies and feeds the kids! You’ll need:
- Spaghetti Noodles– Your choice of type! (Whole wheat, veggie, regular).
- Shaped Macaroni, Penne, Wagon Wheel Pasta–You can really choose whatever noodles will slip over the spaghetti noodles.
- Sausage, Meatballs, Tempeh–something to hold the tower in place and to cap the end off when you’re ready to cook it.
- A Baking Pan or Cupcake Pan. I recommend one for each child.
- Aluminum Foil or Saran Wrap
- Pasta Sauce
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How to Set Up This DIY Toddler Fine Motor Activity
My little ones loved this activity! And even though I had an image in my mind of how it would go, in true toddler fashion, they morphed it into a completely different activity.
But this is how I set it up.
Slice your sausage (or whatever you are using) into 1inch to 1 1/2 inch thick pieces. I used sausage because it cuts so flat and allows the tower to stand up.
Skewer your base with a spaghetti noodle. Make sure the noodle doesn’t poke out of the end so that your tower can stand. I added three spaghetti noodles to each sausage to give the girls plenty of noodle canvas to explore.
Evenly space out the spaghetti sausages on the pan. To give the towers added support as your child decorates the spaghetti, roll out a sheet of aluminum foil to match the length of your baking pan or cupcake pan. Poke the spaghetti through the tinfoil so that the noodles rest against the foil. Be careful not to expand the holes in the aluminum too much or it won’t support the towers.
Once you’ve set up the towers for decoration, lay out the macaroni, penne, or wagon wheels.
Now let the little ones begin!
Toddler Activity and Healthy Lunch All-in-One!
Once your little ones have built their towers and have gotten bored, add a sausage onto the ends of the spaghetti noodles. I cheated a little and took a couple of the decorated noodles off. I then added noodles to support the center noodle before adding the cap. This made sure the tower kept its shape when it was cooked. I also pulled the noodles through the sausage so they wouldn’t slip out.
Pick your favorite sauce, slip in a few veggies, and voila! A healthy lunch that your kids helped make!
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