Monday, February 18, 2013

Sensory Activity: Baked Cotton Balls--Part One

While searching around for fun sensory activities for my son, I came across baked cotton balls. And then I saw this post combing baked cotton balls and smashing/bashing them with tools. Um....YES, please! I figured he would be all over banging tools and smashing something.
All you need is:
--paint (I used tempera paint from Michael's)
--cotton balls (I got 100 in a package from Dollar Tree!)
--flour and water (1:1 ratio; I used 1 cup of each and had plenty for four colors.
 I mixed up the flour paste and separated it into a sectioned platter and let my son go to town.
Just dip them in and put them on a lined cookie sheet. What a fully great sensory experience! First you get to dip soft cotton balls into a gooey solution. Then they turn hard and crunchy after they are baked.
He wasn't super into this though. I think it was TOO much of a sensory experience for him. So I went ahead, finished them and baked them.
The directions had said to bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. I think I ended up doing them for less time. If you leave them in too long they "burn" and turn a bit brown. I just tested a few to start before I did a whole pan.
 Here they are!
I did this activity in two parts. The first day we made the cotton balls and a week or so later when I needed a new activity for him, I pulled out the baked cotton balls and set up this play invitation:
He really seemed to enjoy this! He checked each tool. He tried to use each one to break up the cotton balls.
Now, are you sitting down? Because, guess what? I think I just may have come up with an idea on my OWN! Well, inspired by Pinterest for sure. But I don't believe I've seen this around the blogosphere or on Pinterest before. I used neon paint to make the baked cotton balls. So we could have a GLOW experience with them! Check it out in Baked Cotton Balls--Part Two.


  1. I just tried this and the finished product didn't come out as I thought. They don't break, just kind of flatten out. Did yours do that too?

  2. Hi Emily,

    They don't really break because the inside is still soft. It's more of a smashing activity than a breaking activity. We just played around with them. It was fun for my son to try the different tools to see if he could do anything to the baked cotton balls. Once the outside was cracked/broken, he liked to pull the cotton on the inside out. It's a great sensory experience all the way around. From the making of them to the destroying of them. If you click on the post I linked to at the top, you can see that they were able to just smash them and pull them apart as well. So it sounds like you did every thing right! ;-)