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Busy Hands: Pasta Counting Activity

With numbers and letters, reinforcement and practice are important for children. But I like the challenge of coming up with something new each time I want Little Dude to recall what he knows. The good thing about learning through play is that you don't need too many tools to teach. Look around you, and you are bound to come across something that can make the process fun.

This Pasta Counting Activity required little effort, and was great for practising counting. You can replace the pasta with beans or pom poms, or whatever you have in hand.

A word of caution here - don't leave young children unattended with small materials. You never know when they'll try to put something in their mouth. 


Pasta Counting Activity


For this Pasta Counting Activity, we used the following materials:


- A large egg carton
- Coloured pasta (left over from this Upcycled Bottle project)
- Number cards from 1 to 10 (hand made, can also be used for this Number Hunt game)

Here's how we did the activity (in two ways):


First method - I counted the pasta and put it in ten slots in the egg carton. These were in groups from one to ten, placed randomly. You can also place them in the right order, depending on your child's readiness. I made the number cards with white card stock and wrote on them with coloured felt pens. You don't have to use coloured pasta, but they also also be extended to do a colour sorting activity later.

Pasta Counting Activity with number cards

I asked Little Dude to pick the pasta one at a time from each slot, and line them up to count them. This can be a little tricky for toddlers, so let them do it at their own pace. Lining them up really makes the pasta easy to count.

Once he had counted the number of pasta in each slot, I asked him to pick the corresponding number card and place it in that container. The photo below shows how the activity looked in progress, and when completed.

Pasta Counting - An Easy Learning Activity

Second method - After we had done this activity once, we did the reverse. I placed the cards in the slots first and asked Little Dude to count that many pasta pieces and put them in the right slot.

Pasta counting activity for learning numbers

It was fun both ways, and really helped in practising those counting skills. This would also make a good after-school activity for preschoolers and kindergartners to do.

This Pasta Counting Activity is great for:

- Fine motor skills
- Counting practice
- Recognizing numbers
- Hand and eye coordination

To see more ideas on simple learning, check out this post on Eleven Ideas For Everyday Learning.



Busy Hands is a series about activities and craft 
you can do with toddlers and young children.


This post has been linked to:
Let Kids Be Kids // Tuesday Tutorials //
The Weekly Kids Co-Op


Toddler Activities 6252625725997601387

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19 comments

we3threeblog said...

brilliant. love this. im so not good with coming up with new activities but reading your blog really inspires me. #LetKidsBeKids

Karen Bell said...

Great idea for fun learning. I like the way you used coloured pasta, more inviting for kids.
Thanks for linking #LetKidsbeKids

Merlinda Little said...

My son is learning letters and numbers now and this is a great help =) #LetKidsBeKids

Eileen Teo said...

Such a great ideas! Lovely colours too! #pintorials

Celesse said...

Simple. But I bet it was very effective. #letkidsbekids

Louisa said...

My little one is fascinated with counting at the moment so I know that this activity will be a big success with her. #letkidsbekids

Tarana said...

Thank you for your kind compliment! This really makes my day.

Tarana said...

Thank you Karen, we always have some coloured pasta lying about!

Tarana said...

This would be a good activity to try, I hope he likes it!

Tarana said...

Thanks Eileen!

Tarana said...

He loved doing it, and I prefer activities that are easy to set up!

Tarana said...

I hope she has fun doing it!

abigail said...

Simple yet effective activity. #LetKidsbeKids
I have to try making colored pasta again.

Tarana said...

Yes, it's always a good thing to have!

Sarah Doyle said...

this is a lovely idea. My son has grasped the concept of counting, but we have yet to extend to him counting things like this
#letkidsbekids

Kate Williams said...

Great idea :) Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Tutorials #pintorials

Mike said...

I've mentioned this before that you come with the coolest, most think outside the box ideas for teaching, Tarana! I love it. You mentioned the part of them putting an object in their mouths...what about substituting the dry pasta with something that is edible and they couldn't choke on? Still love the learning technique regardless! :)

Tarana said...

Thanks Sarah!

Tarana said...

Great tip, Mike! I'm going to edit the post and add that point.

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