Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Here's a once-a-year thing for me: cooked spaghetti in the sensory table. We put it in the table with a little bit of warm water, colanders, tongs, spaghetti spoons, plates, and bowls. The kids really enjoy serving up the spaghetti and they get lots of practice squeezing with the tongs. I've only ever had one child taste the spaghetti and by that point it had been touched by so many other children that it didn't taste very good.
Two years ago I put the spaghetti out on trays and it dried overnight. The next day the kids had tons of fun smashing it to little bits. As it dried it made neat shapes. In the two years since it's been rainy when I did this. This year I tried to dry it in the oven. A little paint had gotten into the spaghetti and after two days the spaghetti was still mostly damp and had started to smell. Next year I think I'll try to reboil it before drying it to try to kill anything that might grow while it dries. I also won't pick the rainiest days of the month!
I do have one small qualm about using spaghetti, and it's because we're using food for play. Normally, we teach children that food isn't for play. After all, there are people who don't have food to eat, let alone play with. We have other food that we use in the sensory table, but it's often colored or presented in such a way that the kids don't seem to perceive it as edible. There's just no getting around that with the spaghetti. Also, the other items we use over and over, sometimes for years. I make myself feel better by buying packages that have been smooshed or otherwise damaged that people probably shouldn't be eating anyway, but if you're hungry a little smooshed packaging probably wouldn't bother you.
What do you think about using food for play?
Allergy Note: Clearly, this activity should not be used with your wheat or gluten allergic students. You could make it gluten and wheat free by using rice or corn pasta, but the cost would be extremely high.