Water Beads

Feb 13, 2012

If you are into Early Childhood education and activities, you will be hard pressed to have missed hearing the hype on the web about "Water Beads." So many early learning centres and kindergartens are raving about these funny little things that we just had to give them a try!

I ordered some very cheap water beads from overseas via ebay. You can also get them on Amazon and there are numerous online stores selling them. I'm sure you'll find the quality will differ depending on the source. You can also pick them up at florists and markets as their original use was to replace the use of water in vases. Don't worry, they're non-toxic. For more info, just google!

 The ones that came in the mail to us looked like this. I got 10 packets this size for less than $5 including postage!

 To get things started we used some math skills to measure the required amount of water and practiced our coordination to pour the water in

 Now we play the waiting game! The instruction state about 4 hours till they are fully "grown." This is an activity that required time and patience... and other things to do while we waited.

Wow!! It's been about an hour and a real change is noticeable. This was cause for a lot of excitement in our house.

 Couldn't resist touching them at this point. They feel so different to when we started!

After a few hours they are really huge but not round like we thought they would be. All bumpy and lumpy!

Fully "grown" and much rounder now. Like big squishy marbles.

After trialling this activity we can see why young children and their caregivers are loving these so much!

We had a whole day of excitement in watching them grow and then quite a bit of time playing with them. If you are gentle they last for a long time and bounce and roll and are generally irresistible to touch.
With a firmer touch, they are squishable and you can end up with a big squishy mess! This is all part of the fun :)

Handy tips:

- Talking to your child about the changes they are noticing and the feel and function of the water beads will help your child develop their understanding and vocabulary

- For just the tactile, sensory experience, "grow" the water beads overnight and provide for your child in a tub or sensory bin when they get up. Picking them up will help them practice their fine motor skills

- Extend this activity by sorting the colours, talking about the shape, learning about pressure and how much or little is required to squish them. (This is fun and messy... next time we will be stacking books on top of them to see how many they will take before they squish!)

- Sit back and just watch what your child will do with them on their own. Once they've explored the way they want to then try to lead them towards experiences or ideas that you've thought of.

- See here for how to set them up for a fun Invitation to Play

- When they've gone all mushy, try this activity

***- Water Beads should not be ingested so parental supervision with children who might be tempted to eat them is required***

Debs :)

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