Play Everyday

365…ok 366 days of simple, inexpensive and wildly fun 2-year-old play!

Cotton Clay

on February 3, 2012

Every so often I forget to close the craft closet.  I’m convinced Noah can immediately sense this and off he goes to explore.  It’s not that I don’t want him finding activities, it’s just that there’s SO much in there that at one time was neatly organized.  Now though, every container, drawer and box is open, their contents dumped and scattered.  And of all the things he could bring to me to play with, one of the most common items – a big bag of cotton balls.  Sometimes we “cook” with them, other times we’ll blow them back and forth in a game of tabletop soccer, we’ve even just thrown them around like confetti.  So when I found this recipe for Cotton Clay I was excited to have a new way to play!

  • 3 cups cotton balls
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • Food coloring optional

First you need to pluck at every cotton ball until you have a giant bowl of fluff.  I didn’t pre-read the instructions so that was a parent fail on my part.  Noah enjoyed doing this for maybe the first three balls.  I lost him after that and was stuck plucking the balls while Noah spent his time joyfully dumping the remainder of the bag around the house.


Things got a little more exciting when we added the water.  If you want your clay colored, add the coloring to the water BEFORE adding it to the cotton.  But then everything needed to move to the stovetop so the excitement was over for Noah for a bit.

The instructions say to heat the water and cotton mixture over medium heat and slowly add the flour as you stir.  Continue to stir over heat for 5-7 minutes until the mixture becomes stiff.  Just the water in the cotton felt stiff to me.  I started to doubt this project.  But I forged on.  Still, it seemed…weird to me.  But then again I was making clay out of cotton balls so this feeling probably should have struck me much earlier in the process.  I will say, when I began stirring the water could easily be squeezed from the cotton.  After the flour was added and it cooked up a bit the water could no longer be squeezed from the cotton.  I used this as my definition of stiff and felt the clay was done.  In the first photo you can tell there is sitting water, not so much in the second.


Once cooled we got to creating.  This clay is super slimy but will air dry in 24 hours or so.  We made a DINO…                                                                            A TURTLE…  And a SNAKE.  Noah made sure the snake had something to eat…


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