Lessons from Pasta Skeletons

It’s that time of year again…where we get our Hallowe’en crafting on by making pasta skellies at Playcare. It’s arguable whether it’s more fun for the kids or for us, but in any case, this year, I vowed to let the kids take the lead.


“This is the example”, I told them, “but you don’t have to follow it if you don’t want to; you can make your skeleton as unique and creative as you like.”

And then I tried hard not to cringe every time a femur went where a humerus should go, legs connected to the skull, or a patella was misplaced or absent (Health Sciences has done me well).  But since I was working with such young ones (about 3-6 years), it didn’t need to be so focused on the finished product. We had everything from piles of pasta swimming in globs of glue, to fully formed, anatomically correct skeletons. If you are working with older kids, though, I would definitely adapt it to make a science activity out of it, and have them place “bones” properly, and even have them label the major bones (cranium, humerus, femur, ribs, vertebral column…). But for these guys, the fine motor skills they were developing while manipulating the pasta, as well as the (major) life lesson on using glue conservatively, was educational enough.

Another point that was brought to my attention through the making of this project, is the controversial teaching, being incorporated into early childhood education, that discourages the use of food items (ie. rice, pasta, beans) as craft or play supplies. Personally, I see these items as inexpensive educational resources to be used in the right context. Not to mention, we are likely causing immensely more waste and economical disparity through the use of excessive and over-the-top craft and toy products. What are your thoughts?

Happy Hallowe’en from the skeleton team!