Baked Cotton Balls Ten Apples Up On Top

Did you ever do an activity with the kids that was such a hit, that the kids ask to re-do the activity over and over and over again?  This one is it for us.  There is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t hear about our smashing apples activity. Especially if we happen to see a hammer.  Oh, this baked cotton ball activity was a fun one for us! 
We’ve never made baked cotton balls before, but have had the idea bubbling for a while.  When we heard that the Preschool Book Club‘s book for this week would be Ten Apples Up on Top, we knew it would have to be an apple themed baked cotton ball activity.  We even made these waaaay before all of the other book activities in the second series of books.  Like back in June.  If you’ve never made baked cotton balls before, this is a MUST-DO activity!
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How to make Baked Cotton Balls:

First read Ten Apples Up On Top! by Dr. Seuss.  This is such a fun book for counting and playing along with the story.
Begin by mixing together one cup of flour and one cup of water.  This is a great activity for the kids.  Scooping, stirring, direction following, sneak tasting (my kids aren’t the only ones who go crazy for flour, right!??)
Pour in a bunch of red food coloring.  We typically go with Wilton gel colors for all of our dying activities, but I knew I wanted a really deep red color.  It seems like red coloring requires SO much dye to get a good shade of red.  I ended up using a bottle from the dollar store and used about half of the bottle of food dye.  This was maybe 20 drops?  Add enough to get a nice red color.
Mix in the food coloring.
Now is the cotton ball part.  Grab up your stash of cotton balls.
Mix them around to coat all of the cotton balls.  
Place a layer of aluminum foil on a baking tray and place the cotton balls on the tray for baking.  I used two forks to pick up the coated cotton balls and was able to let excess flour coating drip off before placing the cotton balls onto the foil. You’ll want to let as much excess drip off before putting them on the sheet to avoid the sharp edges and flat bottom once the cotton balls bake.
Pop the baking sheet into the oven for around 60 minutes at 300 degrees F.
While the cotton balls are baking, snip up the leaves and stems for the apples.  We used brown pipe cleaners and green crafting foam that we received from
When the apples are done, pull them out of the oven and let them cool for a bit. They will be nice and hard.  You’ll need to snip the bottom edges of the apples to remove any sharp edges that dripped to the base before baking.
To attach the leaves and stems, lay the leaves on the apple top and poke the pipe cleaner through the foam sheet and into the cotton ball.  The kids were able to help with this part, but assisting with stem attachment did not allow this mama to take any pictures 😉
Our crop of apples were ready for playing with!
We followed along with the book as we read to stack up apples one by one.  What a great way to learn and play with math facts, counting, number order, and simple adding.  Little Guy LOVED this activity.
We got to hammering the cotton balls and this was the really fun part!  The baked cotton balls have a hard outer edge that allow for a satisfying crunch when smashed, and a squishy, cottony center.  What a fun way to explore and play.
We used a plastic hammer, but any hammer would do.
In fact, fists work just as well for smashing.
We had a smashing afternoon.


The remains of our cotton ball smashing reminded us of this page in the book.  Be sure to let us know if you make baked cotton balls!  We would love to hear about your experience with this sensory and fine motor activity!
Stop by the other Preschool Book Club bloggers to see their takes on Ten Apples Up On Top!

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