This post is part of a series of posts entitled "Super Easy Sensory Play".  Activities included in the series all contain two or fewer ingredients and are items that are generally found in any house, so no need to run to the store for specialty items.  They are also appropriate for all ages.  I hope that you will give them all a try!  You can read the other posts in the series here:

I don't know how it came about that I started offering S cotton balls during water play when she was little, but nevertheless, it happened and they are a very common sight when S is playing with water.  They are just perfect little sponges (so much cheaper than actual sponges!), and they look like tiny snowballs, so what's not to love?

Always supervise your infant and stay within arms reach when they are playing with things not intended for eating.  If you would rather substitute sponges for cotton balls to eliminate the presence of a choking hazard, sponges will teach the same concept.

X is too young to notice, but S and I enjoy watching them "inflate" when we put them in the water.  They also hold color really well, so if you're feeling a more complicated set up, you could dye them with food coloring or liquid watercolors and make a rainbow of wet cotton balls!

For this set up, I just set out a few cotton balls and put them in a shallow tray with water.  X LOVES water play.  So much.  So I couldn't resist leaving some standing water for him to play in; however, if you'd like your baby to focus on the wet cotton balls themselves, it's probably best to do this play without the distraction of the standing water.  :)

X immediately noticed the floating cotton balls and dove for one.  Meanwhile, S was eagerly showing him how to squeeze the water out of them.

 Inspecting.  When he picked it up and held it, he managed to squeeze some water out, which got his attention.

Momentarily distracted by the WATER (!!!), and splashing sis in the process.

Back to inspecting and squeezing these weird things.

 Not sure what his obsession is with involving his stomach in sensory play (like he did in Exploring Sticky, hahaha), but he really needed to put his belly in the water.  

The stomach dip was apparently just the thing he was looking for because he was SO HAPPY afterwards.

Next he went diving for cotton balls.  One in each hand here.

More investigation!

Not to be outdone by her little brother, S asked if she, too, could dip her belly in the water.  Of course!

After squeezing and playing with the cotton balls and dipping her stomach, she decided the cotton balls were perfect for bathing some of her "guys".

After that, she decided to gather up all the remaining cotton balls and squeeze them onto X.  He loved it because it was more water (!) and she was giggling like crazy over being able to squeeze little droplets of water onto him.  

And at the very end?  Well, you know what they say - old habits die hard.  ;)

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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.


  1. X is so freaking adorable! I love how he is exploring things with his belly :)

    1. So true, Mama D! I love that he has such strong opinions already. He cracks me up!

  2. Love this! You've got some great little investigators there!

    Wishing you a wonderful day!

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! They do love to investigate! Hope you have a great day as well! :)

  3. Very cute! I have two little ones that look about the same age. Its always fun to watch them play "together".

  4. Hi Rae! Yes, that is my favorite thing about sensory play - it's equally fun for both of them! S really loves "teaching" X about whatever we're playing with, and he is such a hoot for both of us to watch! :)

  5. I just found your blog and I am in love with all of these ideas!! I cant wait to go home and try some of them!! Thanks so much!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing. Winter it's coming up and many days will be spent at home. Also sick days. Where can I get a splash mat?

    1. We use a few yards of oil cloth, but you can also use a water repellant tablecloth or shower curtain. Oil cloth is the sturdiest if you can afford it.


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