Pasta has been satisfying hungry stomachs all over the world for thousands of years. Athletes use it for carb loading. Restaurants feature it on menus. Parents use it as their go-to when they need a quick and easy meal that the whole family will enjoy. Luckily, pasta is usually a favorite of most children, and the many varieties as well as the different ways to serve it make it worth celebrating in your classroom. A few ideas to celebrate all this food has to offer:
-Identify the different varieties: elbow, spaghetti, rotini, fettucine, wagon wheel, and lasagna are just a few of the different types. It is believed there are over 350 different kinds! Discuss the shapes and ask children if the shape changes the way it tastes.
-Discuss how children like to eat their pasta. Do they eat it with butter or sauce, in soups, mixed with other foods, like in a casserole?
-Read about and discuss how pasta is made. Perhaps a parent has a pasta machine they would loan to the classroom for a day or two.
-Have a taste test. Graph or chart the results. Red sauce vs. white sauce? Traditional vs. chickpea or gluten free? Linguini vs. shells? Many possibilities here.
-Children can invent their own pasta shape and give it a silly name.
-Younger children can sort and measure different varieties or tri-colored pasta.
-People in numerous countries eat pasta. Read and discuss how they may prepare or eat pasta differently than we do in the United States.
-Research and share some fun facts about pasta, for example, Italy produces between 1,700,000 and 3,300,000 TONS of pasta each year! School age children may enjoy puns about pasta, like, “I walked right pasta restaurant without realizing it.”
-Be sure to include pots, spoons, bowls, and pretend pasta in the dramatic play area so your chefs can practice what they have learned. Paper and pencils may encourage them to make menus or shopping lists.
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