Cotton ball games are a wholesome way to spend quality time with your child. The activities are easy to set up and fun to play. Best of all, they’re low key with very little stress. As you are playing, be sure to invite your child’s input on changing the rules or inventing variations.
Game 1: Stand a roll of masking tape on a table top. That’s your target. Now place a fork six to twelve inches away. To launch a cotton ball, simple place it on the fork and twit it like a marble. (The curve of the fork makes a perfect launch pad.) To play, each player receives ten cotton balls. See who can shoot the most times through the target.
Game 2: Cut a square in the back of an empty cereal box. Give each player ten cotton balls (and a fork). See who can launch the most cotton balls into the target. (Variation: see who can make one from the furthest away.)
Game 3: Sit on opposite sides of a table. In the middle of the table place two cereal boxes approximately six inches apart. Each player receives ten cotton balls (and a fork). One set of cotton balls is plain white. The other set is dotted with red freckles made with a marker. To play, each person places their fork ten inches from the cereal boxes (mark the spot with tape if it helps). Now see who can be the first to launch all their cotton balls through the cereal boxes to the other player’s side of the table. Do not take turns. Just launch as quickly as you can. The only rule is that you cannot launch your opponent’s cotton balls (that have made it to your side of the table).
Game 4: Use an easy to make catapult to play this game. (Only takes a couple of minutes to make). Place an empty oatmeal container approximately twelve inches in front of the catapult. Write 25 points on a piece of tape and stick it to the side. Surround the oatmeal container with cups and bowls. Assign five or ten points to each of these items. To play—each player receives ten cotton balls (and the catapult). See who can score the most points.
Game 5: Use catapult for this game. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some new sponges. An unused sponge (rectangular) makes the perfect target for this game. Simply stand the sponge upright. Now give each player ten cotton balls. Take turns. Whoever knocks the target down the most times wins. If sponge doesn’t fall down when it’s hit, stand one end on a pencil. (Variation: set up two sponge targets. One is worth five points, the other ten points. Each player launches ten cotton balls. The player with the most points wins).
There are countless varieties of games to play with cotton balls. Sure you can use them in art projects, and they’re great for spoon races, but there’s endless other activities that capture kids’ imagination. Most of the activities require keeping score, counting, taking turns and following procedure—all skill building components. On top of that, there’s plenty of strategy involved to keep your child’s full focus and attention from beginning to end. Lastly, don’t be surprised to see your child practicing on her own–the square in the back of the cereal box can be an irresistible target whether or not mom is there to play.
Best of Luck!