Water beads are a super fun sensory activity to do with kids. They start out as tiny balls and grow into big squishable globes that are fun to scoop up and sort into muffin tins. Water beads are also a fun way to teach kids about physics!
Water beads seem like magic, because they start off as tiny little colorful balls. 1 teaspoon is enough to make a whole pitcher, so the bag of these water beads lasts forever (or you could fill a kiddie swimming pool)!
We sprinkled our water beads into a pitcher of water and watched them grow. They are already starting to expand after only 20 minutes.
Waiting for the beads to grow takes patience, but the end result is worth the wait! Look how pretty the iridescent colors are!
After about 6 hours the water beads will have fully expanded. We left ours overnight and they were ready to play with when we woke up! The beads resemble marbles made from jelly.
My toddler didn’t waste any time scooping up the water beads and distributing them into different containers. Playing with water beads is a great way to develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and mostly they are just squishy fun!
We also sorted them by color into a muffin tin. Kids can’t resist squishing these with their hands! With enough pressure, these squishy globes will burst into a handful of jelly.
Time for a science lesson! We set up a “track” made from PVC pipe with two joints and a beginning and end point. It took some time to situate the tube to give the water beads enough speed and velocity to make it down the tube. It was a great opportunity to teach a basic lesson about momentum and angles. Our almost-three-year-old loved spooning the beads into the tube and watching them come out the other end!
Water Beads in Action – Video!
Daddy poured a pitcherful of water beads into the tube and we watched them pour out the end of the tub into a bowl. The best part about this activity is easy clean-up — if the water beads do get squished on the floor, the jelly-like material is very easy to vacuum up. Easy clean-up is always a win!
We will be enjoying these water beads for awhile! This is such a great activity to do indoors, and during the summer we can take the beads outside and play with them in the grass. If you want to save the beads, store them in a zip lock bag and they will stay moisturized for a long time! We’ve had some water-saturated beads for more than a month and I haven’t noticed any mildew or anything growing on them. And of course we have the huge packet of dried beads to play with when these run out!
Want your own water beads? We got ours from Amazon for about $8 for 20,000 beads! Water beads make a fun party activity, rainy day diversion, or sensory play date with friends!
Katie enjoys all things creative; DIY projects, photography, decorating and family adventures. She feels blessed to be a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids and many artistic outlets.