Italian Americans were instrumental in the creation of Columbus Day. It was on October 12, 1866, that the Italian community of New York City organized a festa (celebration) in honor of the explorer’s discovery of America on that same date in 1492. Other cities followed suit, San Francisco in 1869, then the states, Colorado being the first, until President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed every October 12th as “Columbus Day,” making it an official federal holiday. In 1971, Congress decided this federal holiday should be observed on the second Monday in October.
In the event you will be throwing your own wild festa today, the traditional day, or simply need to keep the little one’s occupied for a bit, here is a fun activity that will teach them about the human skeletoni (I made that up) as well as a few fun facts about pasta. And if all this talk about pasta is getting you hungry, why not prepare Spaghetti al Finocchio, Rigatoni Rustico or Ravioli in Mascarpone Lemon Cream Sauce for dinner tonight? I might also suggest that you have some plain cooked pasta for the kids to eat and play with (so they don’t snack on the dry stuff) while they put the Pasta Girl’s and Boy’s together.
- Black construction paper or dark sturdy paper
- Pasta of various shapes (the specific types used are indicated below)
- Tacky glue
- Felt-tip marker (for drawing the face)
- Use the picture as a guide to put together the “bones” (pasta pieces) in place to create the skeleton (you might want to print this page).
- Arrange the “bones” on a piece of black construction paper before gluing to make sure they fit.
- Put glue on the paper (after you’ve practiced), then place the pasta on the paper.
- Use a marker to draw a face on the head.
To make a Pasta Boy, put the hair (orzo) on top of his head instead of the sides.
In case you’re wondering, here’s the types of pasta I used for this lovely lady:
- Penne Rigate – Leg/Femur, fibula and tibia
- Mini penne – Arms/humerus, ulna and radius
- Medium Shells – Head/skull, Hips/Pelvis
- Salad Macaroni – Spine/vertebrae, Shoulder/clavicle, Hand-Wrist/Carpel, Foot/Tarsals and Metatarsals
- Small Elbow Macaroni – Ribs
- Orzo – Fingers and Toes/Phalanges, Hair
The Human Skeleton:
- At birth a human has approximately 300 bones.
- As the human grows the bones will fuse to form a skeleton of 206 bones.
- Your bones support the body and allow your body to move.
- Bones contain a lot of calcium, an element found in milk, cheese, broccoli and other foods.
- Can you name other foods containing calcium?
- Bones manufacture blood cells and store important minerals.
- The longest bone in the body is the femur (thigh bone).
- The smallest bone is the stirrup bone (inside the ear).
- Each of your hands have 26 bones.
- The nose and ears are not made of bone. They are made of cartilage, a flexible substance that is not as hard as bone.
- The word “pasta” comes from the Italian for paste, meaning a combination of flour and water.
- There are more kinds of pasta shapes than there are bones in your body (over 600).
- Thomas Jefferson, founding father and third president of the United States was the first person to import a pasta-making press to America. He brought it back from Paris, France, where he was the American Ambassador.
- It has been found that the consumption of pasta increases the level of a chemical called serotonin in the body. Serotonin is used by the brain to trigger positive feelings and makes you feel good , no wonder I’m always happy eating pasta!