Intro: Cotton Ball Rocks
My sweet children love to do crafts with me and when I have a spare hour - (said with a sarcastic tone and a smile) - I like to look up my Pinterest Board titled "To Do Another Day" and see if there is something I can throw together for my little ones to do.
Unfortunately, not many crafts can be done with a six-year old, a three-year old and a year-and-a-half year old all at the same time and that keeps them all interested.
This one however, was a hit with all three.
The original blog for this is here: Play Create Explore.
These cotton ball rocks can be made in just over an hour, and got everyone involved. They were both very messy and exciting to make, bake, and crack open.
My 6-year old was enthralled with the possibilities of what these rocks could be used for. He put one on a stick and I shouted out loud, "that looks like a cake pop!"
I wonder what other crazy pranks could be made up from these....
Step 1: Materials, Tools & Notes
- 1-cup flour
- 1-cup water
- food coloring
- cotton balls - we used both triple size and standard size
- vegetable spray or other means of greasing the cookie sheet
- Cookie sheet
- mixing bowl
- disposable bowls or containers that could get food coloring on
- plastic spoons or again, mixing items that can get food coloring on
A Few Notes:
- We did this craft outside. As I was with my three children, the youngest loved to get his hands dirty, but after the first 5-mintues of mixing, was off using the measuring cup to transfer water from the dog bowl to other areas of the yard.
- Our mini poodle mix wanted to eat the "rocks", and at one point had one in his mouth. (I was able to make him spit it out.) He was very interested in what we were doing while we were making them. I'm actually not sure if this would be common, but I wanted to mention it for those of you who have dogs.
- Something to remember - The rocks turned out darker than the original color after baking.
- Lastly, I strongly suggest using clothes that can get food coloring on them and be prepared for stained little arms and possibly faces. I also used their play table and it got stained with food coloring.
Step 2: Mix the Flour & Water
Preheat the oven to 300-degrees.
Mix the one cup of water with the one cup of flour.
My little ones used their hands.
Step 3: Add the Food Coloring
I separated the flour and water mixture into three containers.
I let my children choose their colors and let them drop in the drops. I was unable to count how many drops were placed, but it was a large amount and my best guess is at least twenty.
Note that the color of the rocks gets darker AFTER baking.
My children took the plastic spoons and mixed the food coloring into the flour and water mixture.
Step 4: Create Your Rocks
Taking one or two of the cotton balls, they can either be dipped into the mixture or stirred around until covered.
Place the covered cotton balls on a greased cookie sheet.
My oldest created new colors between the red and blue, and made a really cool granite looking effect on one of the cotton balls by moving the cotton ball back and forth in between his hands.
The original blog mentioned that the covered cotton balls could be stuck together in a row to make shapes. We attempted this by making a "snake" and grouped some of the red ones together to make a heart-look.
Note that the pretty blue in the photo was not the end color.
Step 5: Bake & Cool
In a pre-heated 300-degree oven, bake the cotton ball rocks for forty-five (45) minutes.
Let stand for at least ten (10) minutes after baking to cool.
They cooled very quickly and I was able to touch them after about 5-minutes.
Step 6: Have Fun With the Rocks
We stomped on these rocks, tore them apart, threw them up in the air, threw them on the ground, my youngest licked one (it's just flour, water and a cotton ball remember), and stuck one on a stick.
Who knows what they will do tomorrow with them.
These things really do feel light as a feather and yet have a hard outside that really could look like a rock to the unknowing eye if painted or colored differently.
I think other than all the cool sensory teachable moments that one could have with these cotton ball rocks with young children, creative individuals can come up with a-hundred-and-one pranks to use them in.
They are shape-able, pretty mold-able, and with steady hands, could be decorated with paint afterwards to look like small round objects or the cotton could be stretched out to look like small, long colored objects.
For example, I realized while typing this instructable that the green ones look a lot like brussel sprouts....
Have fun and please link to this instructable if you use the recipe!