Days with Grey no longer promotes the use of water beads with kids. This post is to use at your own risk, however, alternative sensory filler activities can be found here.
Curious about what to do with water beads for kids? Here are 20 creative activities. Water beads for kids make great sensory play activities for ages 4+.
They are slimy squishy, and invite all sorts of indoor and outdoor play. We use water beads year-round and love all of these invitations to play.
Here’s what we will learn in this post
- How to grow water beads?
- What can you do with water beads?
- How long do water beads last?
RELATED: We love simple activities for kids at home, and this is a fun idealist.
What are water beads?
Water beads are non-toxic round balls made out of sodium polyacrylate. When water beads are in the water, they expand in size. They are also biodegradable.
Water beads are intended for ages 4 years+. If you are looking for sensory play for toddlers, start with this step-by-step guide on introducing sensory bins.
They are not edible and should not go in the mouth.
All activities to be done under adult supervision © 2020 by Days with Grey LLC, and you need to watch your children closely when they handle water beads.
With proper supervision, water beads make an exciting sensory exploration for play!
RELATED: Want more water activities? I have an entire list of water games here!
How to Grow Water Beads
There are a few steps to growing your water beads.
- Put about 1-2 tablespoons of water needs into a large container.
- Add about 1-2 cups of water into the bin. You want just enough to cover the bottom of the sensory bin.
- Allow 6-8 hours for the water beads to grow.
Water beads can be used for:
- Floating candles or tea lights
- Floral arrangements
- Sensory play
- Science experiments
- Stress balls
And guess what? Water beads can be used again!
After playing with the water beads, place them on a towel to dry.
Once the water beads are back to their original size, store them in a container with an airtight lid. When you are ready to use the water beads again, add water!
Be on the lookout for the used water beads to get moldy. If you notice mold on your water beads, do not reuse them and dispose of them.
20 Water Bead Activities for Kids
What else can you do with water beads other than a general exploration? I found some great ideas from some of my favorite friends!
- Water Bead Sensory Play – Days with Grey
- Water Bead Color Mixing – Happily Ever Mom
- DIY Thin Ice Game with Water Beads – Barely and Birch
- Water Bead Outdoor Races – Days with Grey
- Giant Water Bead Play – Hello Wonderful
- Water Bead Color Sorting – Preschool Inspirations
- Frozen Water Beads – Busy Toddler
- Water Beads and Ice – The Educators’ Spin on It
- Glow in the Dark Sensory Bottle – Preschool Inspirations
- Water Bead Painting – Happy Toddler Playtime
- How to Make Water Beads Glow – Go Science Kids
- Water Beads in a Bag – Gift of Curiosity
- Sensory Bottle DIY Ideas – Happily Toddler Playtime
- Water Beads and Shaving Cream – Gift of Curiosity
- Water Bead Stress Balls – Natural Beach Living
- W is for Water Play – Growing Book By Book
- Watermelon Sensory Play – Fantastic Fun and Learning
- Outer Space Water Bead Sensory Play – The Art Kit Blog
- Under the Sea Water Bead Sensory Play – The Art Kit Blog
- Early Years Science Experiment – Rainy Day Mum
- Water Bead Sensory Scoop – Fun with Mama
- Water Play for Babies – Mama Papa Bubba
Which water bead activity will you try first?