Water beads are small polymer beads used in sensory bins, sensory bags and all kinds of sensory activities for preschoolers. They wiggle, they jiggle, they’re soft and squishy, and they’re wonderful for sensory play!
Water beads are all the buzz in the preschool circles and among the kid-bloggers at the moment.
What are water beads and what are they used for?
Water beads are cool, little dehydrated polymer beads that start off not much bigger than a grain of salt. To hydrate water beads, you soak them in water for a few hours and as they absorb the water, they expand to about the size of a marble.
Originally, water beads were intended for floral purposes – to be added to a vase of cut flowers.
We prefer to use water beads for sensory play though. They’re so fun to play with.
Have a look, and tell us what you think!
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Where can you buy water beads?
I purchased my Water Beads from Amazon, but you can buy them at Walmart, or a garden centre.
I was so excited when mine arrived in the mail yesterday that I couldn’t even wait for the hooligans before getting started with them.
My son and I dug right in to them, and we soaked our water beads right away.
Soaking your water beads:
We let the water beads sit in the water for a couple of hours to hydrate, and then my sons tried them out.
They LOVED them. My 13 year old said “These are the best things in the whole house! If I was in the daycare, I’d play with them all day”.
I have to agree. Water beads are VERY cool.
Today, the Hooligans got to play with them. They were a huge hit.
How to use water beads for play
I made a large sensory bin with our water beads, by simply filling a storage tote with water, and adding some small toys, spoons, scoops and containers.
The hooligans had a blast sifting, scooping and pouring them into ice cube trays and containers.
They LOVED the feel of them too. They’re so soft and squishy. Kind of like a Jell-o marble.
Of course, because they’re the size of a marble, water beads hey pose a choking risk for young children, so please supervise very closely if you’re using water beads with children who still like to put things in their mouth.
A big thank-you to all the creative preschool bloggers out there for sharing their water bead fun on their blogs!
I never would have known about these little gems otherwise!!
More Sensory Play Ideas for Preschoolers
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.