Arboretum News

Kids Activity: Sensory Bin Pasta

Use Kool-Aid to make colorful pasta for an indoor sensory bin.

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Use Kool-Aid to dye pasta for a sensory bin. Photo by Reba Luiken.

By Reba Luiken, Arboretum coordinator of informal interpretation

Sensory bins are fun in all seasons indoors and out. While they’re great for sand and water outside in the summer, there are plenty of indoor uses too. Today’s post will teach you how to make multi-sensory pasta that engages the nose with kool-aid scents, the eyes with multiple colors, and fingers with different shapes and textures. This recipe uses Kool-aid to provide smells to explore and hot water or vinegar rather than rubbing alcohol so they’re safer to mouth. Of course, sensory bins should only be used under direct adult supervision, especially if your child is young enough to still put things in their mouth regularly. Dry noodles can definitely be a choking hazard, but they can also provide really fun sensory experiences for little hands. 

– Kool-aid packets
– Uncooked pasta
– Plastic bags or tight sealing containers (one for each color)
– Hot water/vinegar
– Bin for pasta


1. Add 2 cups of uncooked pasta into a plastic bag or tight sealing container.

2. In a separate container, mix 1/8 cup hot water or 1/8 cup white vinegar with a packet of Kool-aid. Stir to dissolve. 

3. Pour the colored mixture over the pasta. 

4. Seal the bag or container and shake to mix. This is a great time to hand the project over to little helpers!

5. Check on the color of your pasta. Keep shaking and add a bit more liquid to get more even color. 

6. Open your container and leave to dry overnight. 

7. Transfer your dry pasta into a sensory bin and play! If your colored pasta is stored in an airtight container, it can last for months or even years.

Adapted from:

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