Water beads are the ultimate sensory experience for kids. They are cold, wet, soft, squishy. They hit almost all of the senses and are so much fun to play with.
What can you do with water beads? So much! Here are just a few of the water bean activities you can explore with your preschoolers!
Water Bead Activities for Sensory Fun!
What Are Water Beads
First let’s talk about what water beads are. The original purpose of water beads was for florists to use in arrangements. They hold a ton of water and keep flowers and plants hydrated- and look amazing in vases!
Over the years they’ve become more and more popular with parents and teachers to explore with kids. They are great for science experiments and sensory play.
Water beads comes dehydrated. Just a small amount will give your kids hours of enjoyment! I used 1 Tablespoon of water beads to do all of the below activities and still have a ton left in the bag.
(You can get whole bag of water beads for cheap from Amazon. They’ll last forever and give hours of fun!)
How to Hydrate Water Beads
To rehydrate your water beads, measure out about a tablespoon of dehydrated beads and place them in a large bowl or glass jar.
Fill the container with water and allow them to sit for a few hours.
You may have to add additional water as the beads grow- they soak up a LOT of water!
When the water beads are about the size of a marble and smooth on all sides- they are ready for play!
Water Bead Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Note: Know your child. If your toddler still puts things in his mouth, hold off on this activity or keep a close eye on him.
Water Bead Sensory Bin
This is the most obvious use for water beads. Fill up a bin, add some spoons, bowls, scoops, maybe a sea animal or 2 and let your preschooler explore!
This water bead activity should hold their attention for a long time!
Pouring Water Beads
My little guys love to pour. And it’s a great skill! This water bead activity takes a steady hand a the ability to go slow.
Water beads are bouncy when they are fully hydrated so your preschooler has to be slow to pour the beads back and forth without them bouncing all over the table!
Sorting Colored Water Beads
Make learning colors fun with this water bead activity!
I gave my son a bowl with only about 40 water beads in 5 different colors. Then I gave him 5 small bowls to sort them.
Once they are sorted- pour them back together and do it again!
Squished Water Beads
Part of the sensory experience is to allow your child to explore. And this sometimes means destroying!
Water Beads have a lot of surface tension, so encourage your child to squeeze the beads to see if he can break them. This often turns into water beads flying all over the room! They can experiment ways to squish the beads- pinching, using the whole hand, a hammer- give them different tools to see how they can break them into pieces.
You May Also Like: Quick and Easy Sensory Activities for Babies!
Transferring Water Beads
Water beads are pretty slippery when wet- so this activity can be tricky!
Tweezers are near impossible to use with water beads, but large tongs- or even a small strawberry huller- should be able to pick them up and move them.
Frozen Water Beads
Add just one more sensory element by freezing your water beads. They freeze pretty quick and turn into little balls of ice that are fun to do all of the above activities with. They will start to fall apart as they defrost- so it’s a good thing to do at the end of a playing session.
Water Bead Activities for Older Kids
Stringing Water Beads
Older kids like to play too! We tried to thread water beads on wooden skewers- but that didn’t turn out well (lots of broken marbles!) But older kids who can handle a needle and thread can very carefully thread water marbles.
Be slow or they will break!
Planting in Water Beads
Ready for a science water bead activity? Try filling a small jar with water marbles and placing an easy to grow seed- like beans or pumpkins- just under the surface. Leave the jar in the windowsill and see what happens!
More Water Bead Activities
Still looking for more water bead activities? Here are some super fun ones from other moms: