Monday, August 27, 2012

Baked Cotton Balls! (Great Sensory Activity)

Activity: I found this amazing website that has so many creative and wonderful ideas.

I work with an 8 year old girl who has vision impairment and thought baked cotton balls would be great for her! Her favorite colors are purple and green primarily because she can consistently see those two colors. Below, you'll see I made the cotton balls green and purple for her.

What You'll Need
  • Cookie sheet or tray
  • parchment paper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbs water
  • cotton balls
  • food coloring
  • vanilla (or other flavors) extract
  • spices

Project Prep

Mix flour and water in a big bowl. Mixing is easy, so get your child involved right from the beginning. Things will get messy so it's probably best to sit at a table or high chair with a tray, but if you're like us and play most of your games on the floor, be sure to put a towel down to collect the mess.
If you want to add color, go ahead and drop in some food coloring. For multiple colors you can split your flour mixture into separate bowls. I also added some vanilla extract and a little bit of ground cinnamon to give the mixture a nice scent. Lemon or almond extract would be nice, too. Hopefully adding the smell in will give this activity a bit more sensory input.
Next, drop your cotton balls into the flour mixture and get them all soaked up in the batter. Place the wet cotton balls on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. **I only made two colors

Bake the cotton balls at 350° for about 30 minutes. 
Let the cotton balls cool completely then smooth the edges with scissors to make sure you don't have any pokey parts that might hurt little hands. Throw your baked cotton balls into a bowl and let the fun begin!

Playing with Your Baked Cotton Balls

stretching the cotton ballsThe coolest thing about baked cotton balls is that they're hard, but super light and really easy to crush with your bare hands. Give the ball a squeeze and you'll get a satisfying *CRUNCH* and then the soft, pliable cotton ball is revealed inside! They're kind of like fortune cookies, but easier to break and the fortune is always the same... softness!
We can work on pulling the cotton balls apart and feeling how long a cotton string we can make. We can also listen to the sound of the crunch. You could also play with toy hammers and hit the cotton balls or maybe run toy trucks over them.

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