It's OK — Play
With Your Food!

Your preschooler will love to get her hands into different textures of pasta and dried beans, and you will just love these charming craft products she can make. Learn how to make a simple Christmas-themed star necklace using pasta as beads, a chic wreath embellished with dried peas and a simple, pasta-embellished candle holder.

Pasta & Tuna can candle holder

Pasta and tuna-can candle holder

Supplies needed:

  • Clean, dry and empty tuna or pet food can
  • Pasta, varying shapes and sizes
  • Glue
  • Gold craft paint
  • Votive candle

Instructions:

  1. First, glue the dry pasta onto the outside of the tuna can. You may need to glue the pasta in sections, with the can set on its side, to allow the pasta time to dry without slipping off the can.
  2. After the glue has dried and your can is covered in pasta, paint the pasta with gold acrylic craft paint.
  3. Make sure your paint and glue are completely dry before lighting your candle.

Chic Wreath

Chic wreath

Supplies needed:

  • Patterned card stock — 12 inches by 12 inches
  • Elmer's® Early Learners™ Glue Pen
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Dried split peas

Instructions:

  1. To create the wreath base, trace a large dinner plate onto the center of the wrong side of the paper and cut out.
  2. Then trace a saucer or snack plate centered in that circle, and cut that out.
  3. Follow the patterns of your paper with glue — made easy by using the fine tip side of the Elmer's® Early Learners™ Glue Pen, and glue the dried split peas flat side down.
  4. Add the bow with a simple knot if you plan to hang your wreath. Alternately, you could glue a magnet on the back so that you may hang it on the fridge or a metal door.

Dyed pasta and star necklace

Supplies needed:

  • 4 capfuls regular rubbing alcohol
  • Red food coloring
  • Green food coloring
  • 2 zip-top plastic bags, quart sized
  • 1 cup uncooked rigatoni pasta
  • Cotton string
  • White card stock
  • Wax paper
  • Elmer's® Early Learners™ Glue Pen
  • Scissors
  • Fine silver glitter

Instructions: 

Dying pasta:

  1. Before you assemble your necklace, you need to dye your pasta. This is a two-day process, so be sure to do this before crafting day.
  2. First, split your dry pasta evenly into two zip-top bags.
  3. Pour two capfuls of rubbing alcohol and a generous squirt of food coloring into each of the bags, close the bags and shake to coat the pasta. If your color is not dark enough, continue adding food coloring until you have reached your desired color.
  4. Leave the pasta in the food coloring mixture in the sealed bag overnight — or for at least 12 hours.
  5. Then, pour the pasta out onto a wax-paper-covered surface, using care to wipe up any excess liquid that wasn't absorbed.
  6. Allow the pasta to fully dry for at least 24 hours.

Your color will be set into the pasta, but use care so that none of the noodles end up in anyone's mouth.

To create the star pendant:

  1. Simply trace a star shape onto a piece of card stock — I traced a cookie cutter — and cut it out.
  2. Cut two slits in the top of the star.
  3. Spread glue all over the star and sprinkle fine glitter over the glue.
  4. Allow that to dry fully and then assemble the necklace.

Assemble by stringing the string through the holes of half of the pasta, then the star, then the rest of the pasta. Tie a knot to secure the ends and trim the excess.

More holiday activity ideas

Family-friendly activities for Kwanzaa celebrations
Macaroni menorah for Hanukkah
Christmas crafts for kids

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