fine motor activity with pasta and play dough

Do you have some play dough in the house? Here is an activity that can extend its use: pasta imprints for fine motor and sensory play! It is a great toddler activity and preschool activity emphasizing fine motor skills.

We had some old-ish homemade play dough in the fridge and this is the second of three ways (here is the first) that I thought of to use it up.

We can create pasta imprints in the dough with dry noodles to engage in some fine motor and sensory play with the play dough. The benefits of playdough are many. Kids love using their hands to explore. It engages their fine motor development.

Pasta is such a great tactile material. It can be used in this fine motor activity. Or, use it to make necklaces in place of the straws in this activity for making a fine motor straw necklace.

Plus, playdough is a great table activity for a wide range of ages. My preschooler got a bit creative with it at the end to take the activity in her own direction.

pasta and play dough fine motor sensory play activity
To start, you need some dry pasta (a variety is great, but what you have on hand will work), play dough (an excuse to get one more use out of the older stuff) and a small container to hold the pasta.
I set a chunk of play dough and a container of pasta on a cookie sheet for each child-the two older ones were home for a snow day, so two invitations to play were ready for them!
play dough invitation to play
The funny thing was both kids were playing with Legos at the table and did not even notice me setting up this play dough activity for them-while wearing one of the twins, of course!
(No free hands in this house these days!)
I waited to see how long it took the two big kids to notice while I folded some laundry. They were excited to try it out, and my preschooler stayed interested longer than my almost-6 year old. It is an activity that is more for toddlers and preschoolers, but he tried it for a few minutes before heading back to the Lego play.
dry pasta and play dough fine motor sensory activity

My almost-3 year old ended up making what she called “a birthday cake” and even sang “Happy Birthday” to herself.

Both kids enjoyed making prints and patterns with the pasta in the play dough. At the end, my daughter had folded and pressed all of the pasta (even her older brother’s share) into the chunk of dough. It was used to its fullest.

The playdough did go in the garbage after, as it had dried out a bit, but a great extension would be to dig out the pasta pieces to recover them.

Combine pasta and play dough for a homemade (simple) fine motor and sensory activity for preschool and toddler aged children.

If you are looking for easy play dough recipes, look here.

Also, check out this post for my Homemade Play Dough Puzzle Activity that is another great use for play dough you are just ready to throw away. Give it one more use!

What is your child’s favorite way to play with playdough?