Scooping faster with pasta

For ages 1 – 5 years

This activity is good to do while you are cooking dinner. It keeps children busy and involved. Your child can choose the best way to move the pasta from one container to another – and see if they are right! A timer makes them race to beat the clock! And they are developing their hand–eye coordination as they scoop, pour and fill.

What do I need?

  • Uncooked pasta (you could look for interesting shapes such as spirals, tubes or wheels)
  • Two different sized containers – such as a cake tin and a mixing bowl
  • Small bowls, cups, scoops, spoons, jugs or tongs (you could also use plastic bottles with lids)
  • A kitchen timer (or the timer on your phone)
  • A flat, clear surface such as a table, bench or the floor.

How do I do it?

  1. Pour the pasta into one of the two larger containers and place all your ‘scoops’ (the small bowls, cups and spoons, etc) beside it.
  2. Tell your child that their challenge is to move the pasta into the other container as fast as they can.
  3. Ask them what they will choose as their scoop – which will be the most effective? Tell them they have one minute to move as much of the pasta as they can.
  4. Say “Ready, Set, Go”, and start your timer.
  5. How did they go? Do they think they could do it any faster? Try again with another scoop.
  6. Record the results, if you wish, and compare with your child’s initial choices.
  7. Afterwards: Dry pasta is easy to sweep up with a dustpan and brush. Your child can help. You can keep the pasta in a container to use again. 

No-one knows your child better than you.  So, choose and/or adapt ideas here to best suit you and your child. Remember it’s the talking and time spent together that matters most.

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