Monday, February 17, 2014

Water Beads

After attending Harrison's preschool family fun night, there was one activity that I knew I could easily re-create: water beads. I found these at Michael's (you can order larger packets of them through Amazon but I was too impatient for them to arrive):

I put them in a tub of water (technically it was an unused Sterilite container) over night and woke up to a purple beady tub of squishyness:

Following the directions on the package, I rinsed the water beads thoroughly (I dumped them from the bin into the tub and rinsed them with the shower head until the water ran clear) and put some into the water table and kept some in the bin. The kids actually enjoyed playing with them more in the bin than the water table because the bin has higher sides so they could throw them around and bounce them more.

The water beads had a tendency to end up on the floor but the kids were more than willing to pick them all up (that was rule #1 I set up before they started playing) so it wasn't too big of a deal. We even got some learning in with this activity: A few beads got crushed by feet. That meant fascinated kids around the broken beads exploring the differences between the two. 

In the afternoon, I added the sea creatures to the beads.

The only downsides to this activity:

I used purple, pink, and clear beads but I stupidly put them all in the same bin to expand. The pink and clear beads took on the purple color, so there wasn't as much variation of colors as I was hoping. However, that did not effect the playing with them!

The biggest downfall is that the beads stained the kids hands, the bin, the water table, the bath tub, and just about anything else they came into contact with. After lots of scrubbing, the color will come out (hello bleach), but the kids and I had purplish hands for a good 48 hours after use.

An entire day was happily taken up squishing, burying hands, finding the sea creatures, and making them "bounce."

Next time we do this activity, I plan on trying out a different brand to see if there's another brand that doesn't stain quite so easily. I'll also be separating the different colors while the expand in water so we can have a very colorful sensory bin.