One of my kids favorite activities to do in the summer is play with Water Beads! We bought them for the first time last summer and my kids were instantly hooked! Throughout the last year, we’ve gotten a little more creative with the ways we play with our water beads and today I want to share with you the top 5 Water Bead Activities that my kids love!
First, let’s talk about Water Beads! What are they? Water Beads are generally used for floral arrangements. Water beads come from the store dehydrated and when you put them in water they will expand 100+ times in size of the original bead. In floral arrangements, they help keep the flowers hydrated, along with adding a very cool look to vases, etc. Because they are non-toxic and environmentally friendly, they have become very popular for kids play too. Even though they are non-toxic and environmentally safe, they should still not be ingested by kids. I recommend parents being involved in water bead play, until you are confident that your kids will not eat them. You can purchase them locally, but I generally order these clear water beads or these colored water beads from Amazon (affiliate links).
*Although water beads don’t leave the surface slimy or gross, beware that the beads do roll and bounce. So, if you play with them inside, prepare yourself for a little cleanup! The bigger the tub you have to hold the beads the better! It means you’ll have less cleanup! I really like to have the kids play outside on a table or a blanket if it’s not too hot!
My middle child loves to organize! So, he loves to get out our cups and plates for our Counting Bear sets and divide them up by their color! We also like to use these sensory toys, these handy scoopers
Water Beads in the Water Table
They love to take the water beads and add them to our water table! The ways to play with them are endless it seems! Give them a few little cups and they’ll scoop them up and then dump them 100’s of times! My daughter also likes to take a few of her Little People out and play with them in the water beads!
Frozen Water Beads
They love all activities that include freezing water! So, frozen water beads are always a hit. We generally do this once we can tell the water beads are getting old (a few weeks/a month).
To freeze the water beads, get a plastic cup and fill it about 1/3 of the way up with water beads. Then add water to fill the rest of the cup. I generally freeze them overnight!
The next day my kids like to go in the backyard and put them in the water table, play pool, buckets of water or even just leave them on the back patio and watch them melt and breakdown! They also have taken their little hammers or screw drivers to them, but the water beads will break into pieces! So, now they generally avoid that!
Glow in the Dark Water Beads
This year we tried the Glow in the Dark Water Beads for the first time and my kids love to pull them out at night! They also like to fill clear vases and use them as “night lights” in their room at night! However, they are quite a bit more pricey! I really liked the idea from Learn Play Imagine of using highlighters to make glowing water and then soak the clear beads in them! So much more affordable!
There are SO many fun ideas for creative play! We loved these great ideas and my kids played for hours!
Fill Water Balloons
My kids love water balloons! So, adding water beads to them only makes them cooler! They fill them all up differently, some with lots of water and just a little water beds or some with 100% water beads! Then they’ll go in the backyard and play catch with the water balloons!
(Photo Credit: Teach Preschool)
Shaving Cream Fun
You could totally do this with plain white shaving cream, but my kids especially love it when I dye the shaving cream colors! I’ve found that liquid water color works better than food coloring, but if all you have on hand is food coloring that works fine!
After you get the shaving cream color then just add your water beads to it! It works great putting it in a pin, a play pool or even just out on a tarp! Teach Preschool has lots of a fun ideas of what else you can do with Shaving Cream while you’ve got the mess out!!
I haven’t tried this yet, but I think playing with the water beads on a light table looks like so much fun! I have it on my list to make this DIY Light Table! Awesome and affordable!
I hope that these ideas have inspired you to get some water beads for your littles to play with! They really can be so much fun! They are so good for sensory development too!