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Cotton Balls for Sensory Play: Parental Advisory

Cotton balls sound like one of the perfect sensory toys. They’ve got a great texture that’s fun to play with; they’re cheap to buy in mass quantities; and they’re easy to just pick up when cleanup time rolls around…right? What’s not to love?

Hm...intrigued toddler.  How bad can it be?
Hm...intrigued toddler. How bad can it be?Emily L. Goodman

Well…that cleanup process might not be as easy as it sounds.

See, cheap cotton balls? They’re fuzzy. And that fuzz? It gets everywhere.

Everywhere.

All over the carpets. All over the furniture. All over toys.

Carpets will vacuum…mostly. Furniture will, if you ask it nicely. Toys? Toys are hard to vacuum.

And then there’s the fact that there are over two hundred cotton balls in one package alone. Two hundred! If your toddler somehow ends up unattended with all of those (for example, if you foolishly decide that you might be able to sneak in a bathroom break alone), then there could be cotton balls anywhere.

In the laundry room…with the clean laundry, of course. Mixed in with the baby’s diapers. Shoved down in the cracks in the furniture. Scattered down the hallway in so many different locations that it’s impossible to count them all. Under the covers in his bed…your bed…the other kids’ beds….

Everywhere.

Sure, they’re an awesome sensory material. They’re even more fun when wet! (You aren’t leaving your toddler alone with the wet cotton balls, are you? Are you?) They’re soft and fluffy, and make great craft materials, and there are all sorts of activities you can do with them. You can make clouds, or play with them as they are, or hide things and go hunting for treasures in them. Cotton balls make the perfect ending to your rainbow, and great fuzzy bunny tails, if you happen to be doing crafts.

Just be prepared for the aftermath.

Really.

You have been warned.