Preparation time: Stringing Noodles requires very little preparation, as long as you have the few necessary materials on hand.
Clean-up time: Minimal. (Unless the activity turned into the ever-popular 'Crush the pasta into a fine powder with my feet!' game. In that case, you may need a few minutes to pick-up after Baby Godzilla.)
Game Duration: As long as you want, but generally between 5 and 15 minutes.
What you will need: Uncooked (dry) tube-like pasta such as rigatoni, macaroni or penne, and a relatively stiff length of cord to do the stringing such as yarn, a shoelace, a butcher's cord with masking tape wrapped around one end or even a pipe cleaner.
(Important! Lengths of cord can present a strangulation hazard to young children. Never provide these materials unsupervised and always store out of reach when the activity is finished.)
How to Play:
There comes a time in every toddler's play when Stringing Noodles is endlessly fun. You'll know your toddler is ready for stringing when he just won't leave his shoelaces alone, and when he can pinch a small object between his thumb and forefinger. Here's what you do:
Provide your toddler with a small cup of noodles and the string or cord of your choosing. String the first noodle and knot the end of the string around it. This will be the stopper; preventing any noodles from escaping. Alternately you can tape the end of the string to the table or the high-chair, or wherever you and your toddler are engaged in this activity. You can string a few noodles to get your toddler interested, but let him take over and figure it out. Sometimes a little help is appropriate, especially if your child has been working at it for awhile and is about to give up. On the other hand, don't do it for him or help too quickly or you will end up stringing countless necklaces while your child watches you, or plays with something else!
Variation for Older Toddlers: Introduce a simple pattern, one rigatoni followed by two macaroni, for instance.