We've been working with patterns lately and I was looking for a fun activity to keep the kids occupied on a rainy day when I stumbled on this idea from Preschool Play. I love activities that I already have all of the materials for and this looked perfect for small hands.
We set up our "towers" by putting two pieces of dry spaghetti into a lump of Play-Doh. The Play-Doh makes an excellent base for holding the spaghetti up.
Then, I gave the kids an assortment of items to string on their spaghetti. We used small bowls of penne, Cheerios, Fruit Loops, and cut up straws.
(Next time, I'll color the penne with food coloring to make it even more fun!)
The kids then had fun stringing their spaghetti with the various materials. They were concentrating very hard and working on those fine motor skills. When they finished with one tower, they would empty it and start all over :) With older kids, this is a great time to get them making patterns, color and material.
It was an easy learning activity with easy clean-up, and it kept them engaged for 30 minutes! Of course, then they had to run around for awhile to make up for all that time sitting still :)