For the last couple of years after we dyed Easter eggs, I throw handfuls of pasta into the dye cups. I usually have a ton of different shaped pasta in the pantry. Our local grocery store seems to always have pasta buy one get one free, so we stock up.
The colored pasta work for us in many different ways. I used it for sorting skills, all the blues together, all the reds, all the weird blackish ones that are supposed to be purple ones together. I used them to help develop counting skills. For example, how many wheels do you have? Pasta is also perfect for threading skills; small motor skill development. I got out a piece of yarn, tied a big knot at the end of it and let Lydia put a bunch of different size pastas on the string. After a while, the pasta gets dropped and breaks and we throw it out slowly.
This year, I decided I would use our dyed pasta for more traditional endeavors of noodle art. At 2 1/2, there are fewer things that she likes more than glue. Good old fashion Elmer's white gold. This will entertain her for hours. I poured the glue onto a paper plate for easy disposal and gave her a plate of colored noodles. I set some examples up for her to make little people (wheels as heads, bowties for boys or head bows for girls, little macaroni for hair, ziti for body limbs) but she wasn't quite ready to replicate those, she really just wanted to dip them in glue and stick them on to the page.
Since I was reusing the dye, using some leftover pastas and a leftover sheet of lightweight foam, I declared this project an Earth Day endeavor. Once she was done, we decided to give it to Abuelo for his birthday, so it served yet another purpose, because all grandparents love art from their grandchildren.
I had some leftover pasta that I stuck in a baggie and kept for another day. The pasta from last year I threw out a couple of weeks before this year, so it last for a while. I would say that if your pasta gets limp after it has already dried completely, it may be the sign to toss it. Otherwise, get creative.
During this art time with Lydia, I finally let Vivian use her pudding paints. A few things I had forgotten about 8 months stage. I didn't need to put the paints on a plate. The plate was flung rather quickly and I was cleaning pudding off of everything in the dining room shortly after I gave it to her. I should have just put them right on the tray of the high chair. The fun part is smearing it all over, so prepare for a mess. And since it's pudding it is okay to eat but it makes for a very sticky baby. The sensory experience was so fun for her that it was well worth it.