If you are looking for a new sensory play activity to delight your kids, look no further than water beads. Water beads are a crystal polymer that start off as tiny, hard little pellets. After soaking in water and absorbing more than 100 times their weight in water, they grow into gel-like beads that provide a delightful play experience.
Although water beads were designed to be used in floral displays, they are non-toxic and environmentally safe, making them a wonderful addition to the sensory play of children who will not put them in their mouths. My kids had so much fun exploring the water bead sensory bin I put together for them. And I love that they got to practice their fine motor skills at the same time!
If you want to play with water beads, you need to plan at least one day ahead to give the beads time to hydrate. I decided to soak our water beads in water dyed blue in order to give the water beads a blue color.
The next day, while the kids were napping, I set up an invitation to play by preparing:
Note that I put all of this on top of a shower curtain to help contain the mess.
When the kids saw the sensory bin, they immediately wanted to dive in. They scooped the beads with their hands.
They scooped the beads with cups and bowls.
They scooped the beads with the scissor scoops.
Then they got creative, and decided to start serving me some “blueberries” to eat.
They filled their bowls and cups over and over again for me to eat, laughing while I pretended to spill them back into the bin or claim they were yucky.
Finally, we got a neat little science lesson out of the activity as well, when we noticed that the beads looked different depending on which color bowl they were in.
How will your kids play with water beads?