Right now, Noah is teething. And he’s teething badly. My usually happy little chap is irritable, tired and just not himself at all, making him extremely difficult to please. So I pulled out the big guns – spaghetti play.
It’s well known that babies and toddlers love spaghetti play. When cooked and cooled it has a lovely texture, slimy and sticky, which really stimulates their senses. I decided to go the extra mile and dye it as well, giving it some additional visual stimulation.
Firstly, I cooked some spaghetti, then drained and let it cool a little. Then I added enough vegetable oil to coat it, and split it into 5 bowls. Now, once I began the next step I did panic a little wondering if I was going to stain my lovely bowls – but they were absolutely fine after a quick rinse. However it may just be less stress-inducing all round if you just use plastic containers! To each bowl I added a few drops of food colouring and gave the pasta a good stir.
I then left the spaghetti to dry out a little, and to really soak up those colours. After about 2 hours I realised there was still loads of excess food colouring on the strands, so I gave each colour (one at a time, to prevent colour bleeding!) a rinse with cold water through a colander.
In the interest of honesty, when I rinsed off the orange pasta…pretty much all of the colour rinsed off with it and I was left with basically it’s original state. I have no idea why this happened, but I decided just not to use it. Luckily, the others remained bright (I had horrible visions for a moment of creating some sort of cold, rainbow coloured pasta salad just to avoid wastage and imagining what Jim would say when I presented it to him for dinner brought me out in a cold sweat!).
I combined all of the successful spaghetti in a tupperware tub and was ready to go.
For this activity, I decided whilst it may not be mess free, I could at least CONTAIN the mess, so I stripped Noah off and plonked him in the bath. In went the multi coloured spaghetti and his bath stacking and pouring cups, and I let him begin exploring!
He had a blast! He looked at me like I was crazy for a few seconds there at the beginning, but in no time at all he was grabbing, sifting and flinging it behind him, putting bits into the cups and pulling them back out again.
This was by far the most successful activity I have done with Noah so far. At 9 months old, attention span can be fleeting, but he was happy in here for nearly an hour! And once he’d begun to tire of it, he realised it was edible too.
As you can see, the dog had already sussed this part out – he spent the entire duration sat next to the bath in hope that he’d get a turn!
Once we were finished, it was as simple as hosing him down with the shower head and scooping the left over spaghetti back into the tub. I imagine you could use it again another day if you wanted- but I wouldn’t leave it too long as it is food, and Noah had been in there so long with it that it was mostly broken up, trodden down and a bit mushy.
I’m definitely counting this one as a success – my poor grumpy boy didn’t grumble once the whole time! A perfect distraction.