The Power of Play: Almost as good as snow balls?

by Tina on December 22, 2010

Hello folks and welcome to my new contribution dedicated to creating more opportunities for play in our daily lives.  Every day.  Drop everything for 20 minutes and let the dishes sit in the sink, leave the laundry and put down all those bon bons you have been eating (hahaha…I kid you!)  But I promise you that those 20 minutes will be worth more than any other thing on your to-do list!  This month’s post is one of my all time favorite games to play.  It uses play to increase impulse control and improve self regulation while creating a fun atmosphere.  Plus, who can pass up the opportunity to have a snow ball war?  This activity is best done in a group, but you can do it with just you and one kiddo if you’d like.  I hope you find it helpful on those days when the snow is piling up and everyone needs to release some energy and have a good laugh.

Activity: Cotton ball war

Ages: 4 and up

Materials: bag of cotton balls, some kiddos and at least one adult

Goals:  Improve impulse control, increase attention skills and have fun

Directions:  Divide the group up into two teams.  If you are able to draw some sort of line to separate the teams, such as masking tape or a line on the floor, that works great.  If you don’t have this, you can imagine a line or create a symbolic one using a marker in the room.  The adult lays a large amount of cotton ball down the middle of the line between the two teams.  The directions are simple.  When the adult give the word to go, each team must try to throw as many cotton balls as possible at the opposite team members.  The goal is to get as many cotton balls on the other side as possible.  There are two important guidelines: 1.) you may only pick up ONE cotton ball at a time to throw and 2.) You MUST say the name of the person before you throw the cotton ball at them.  When the adult says “game over”, the team with the least amount of cotton balls on their side wins the war.

Follow up with some hot cocoa and call it a snow day!

Hope you like this one.  Thanks so much to those folks who have been supportive and I would LOVE to hear if you have tried some of the Power of Play activities.  Have a playful day!



Tina is a full time working mom.  She is a mental health therapist (LSCSW) and registered play therapist supervisor (RPT-S).  She is married to an incredibly tolerant and patient dude and has “just one” adorable tot.  She laughs too loud, talks too much and usually creates a scene.  She can be found writing on Bull in a China Shop in her spare time.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Admitted Fabricaholic December 22, 2010 at 5:42 am

What a GREAT idea!!! I love it! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderfully fun game with us!


Tina December 22, 2010 at 11:38 am

You are very welcome!
Happy holidays!


Destri December 22, 2010 at 6:00 am

I needed the reminder to just put my to do list aside today, so thank you. Also, wouldn’t this be a great activity for parties?!
As for feedback, I have been doing loosey goosey meets Mr.Roboto with Hank. I was doing it one day and my husband was observing with a puzzled look on his face. Later that night in bed I was telling him the purpose and why play was important to teach. He actually thought it made sense! Which if you ever met my husband, that is saying something.

Hank has now learned how to stop and take deep breaths. When he is especially mad or wound up I tell him to stop and breath big deep breaths, and he does! Then I tell him to go loosey goosey, and he knows exactly what I am talking about. To me that is HUGE!

Thanks Tina, your the best!


Tina December 22, 2010 at 11:41 am

Awwww shucks! Now I am blushing! It’s so cool for me to get feedback like that! I love it!
And on a side note? I was teaching Sunday school last week for my son’s class and the theme was “this is the season to be helpful”. So I had them do the snowball war and said “Oh my! Look at all these snowballs! What could you do to be helpful right now?” Cue toddlers picking up snowballs….lesson learned!


Kate December 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm


may much merriment and frolicking fun head your way.


Tina December 22, 2010 at 7:20 pm

What a sweetie…and any gal who can use the words “merriment” and “frolicking” while sounding so charming gets an “A” in my book! :)


Stephanie at Modern Parents Messy Kids December 22, 2010 at 11:55 pm

I love, love, LOVE your posts. I am a true believer in the positive power of play and the info. and tips you provide are invaluable. Thank you so much and keep it coming!


Tina December 23, 2010 at 5:23 am

So glad you find them helpful! I love, love, love that I get to do the posts! Have fun throwing “snowballs”.


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