We Love Water Beads!

Water beads for summer sensory play

Have you ever played with water beads? They are so cool for sensory play. They start out as tiny hard dark beads, and then absorb water to become translucent marble-sized balls. You can play with them in water, or on their own. They are wet, and yet solid. They are slippery and squishy and feel absolutely amazing to touch.

You could even call them amaze-balls. 🙂

Playing outside with water beads - great sensory play for a hot afternoon

We’ve played with water beads plenty of times before, but Bee has developed an obsession with them this week. Lots and lots of sensory play going on at our place right now! She especially loves adding new “baby” ones, and watching them grow.

(Water bead play is not appropriate for children who are still in the mouthing phase. Water beads are not edible in either the unexpanded or expanded forms. Older kids still require active supervision at all times. For more information, please see bottom of post.)

Adding tiny water beads

They start to change within a few seconds, growing a lumpy translucent shell around a darker core. The little lumps disappear over time, until the water bead becomes perfectly spherical. It’s all very, very fascinating.

Water beads at various stages of absorption

There are so many ways to play with water beads. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Simply just touching them – if it’s your first time with water beads, you probably won’t need to go beyond this. It’s such a cool, calming experience.
  • The transparent ones ‘disappear’ when submerged in water, and if you can scoop them up with your hands to make them reappear again. Magic!
  • Adding bowls, cups and spoons encourages kids to scoop, pour, measure and transfer.
  • Add a few sea creatures to create an ocean-themed small world for lots of imaginative play. (My Octonauts fangirls loved this one!)

Water beads and sea creatures for an ocean themed small world sensory play

  • After a while, you’ll inevitably discover that they bounce. Quite high actually!
  • You can also squish them with your fingers and feel them break apart. And likewise, you can stomp on them with your feet. And of course, it’s fascinating to examine all the little schmoshed up bits.

A feet stomping sensory play with water beads

Loads of fun!

In case you are freaking out about the mess, here’s a little secret. If any squish, bounce, or roll into the garden, just leave them! They’ll shrink back down to their teeny tiny original size in a day or two, and will actually help to drought-proof your soil by retaining water next time it rains.

For more water and water bead play, you might also like:

{Please note that the water beads I buy are non-toxic, which means they are safe for kids to touch, but are not edible in either the unexpanded or expanded form. My two year old is no longer in the mouthing phase, as is well-supervised when playing with water beads. Please use your best judgement when introducing young children to small objects. Unexpanded water beads could expand in the stomach. Expanded water beads are a choking hazard. All activities on Danya Banya require attentive adult supervision at all times. If you are uncertain whether this activity is appropriate for the children in your care, please see your paediatrician for further advice.}

xx Danya

why we love water beads for sensory play

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