Being gentle is something most toddlers need to be taught. One way to help them understand this concept is an activity using cotton balls.
Show the child a cotton ball. Explain that you want them to pull gently on the cotton ball in all directions to make it bigger and fluffier. Demonstrate with one yourself.
Hand the child a cotton ball and have them try. If they pull it into more than one piece, repeat your demonstration and encourage them to try again.
You’ll want to have a large handful of cotton balls at a minimum as it takes quite a while for children to get the hang of fluffing and not breaking them. This is excellent fine motor practice as well.