Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Water beads

Sorry for the absence. Parental units were in town, and that left very little time for blogging. So, to make up for it, today's post is about something really fun: water beads! The original inspiration for this activity was found here via Pinterest, once again. You can purchase water beads (or gems) already hydrated, but they're way more expensive that way, and you'd miss out on all the fun of watching them grow. When you buy them, they look like this. I bought mine at Michael's, but I think they're available at places like Walmart and Hobby Lobby, too. I can't remember how much I paid for them, and Michael's doesn't list the price online, but I want to say it was less than $5.00. I'll have to confirm and get back to you.

Anyway, let's get down to the fun. I dumped about 1/3 of the packet into a clear bin and added some water.  At this point, it wasn't that exciting for the Eskimo, but he had fun splashing:

Then, the beads slowly started swelling, I added a couple drops of food coloring, and we got a spoon and a cup. Let the games begin!!

Some words to the wise: I spent the first 15 minutes or so of this activity trying to keep all the slippery little beads in the bin because it was driving me nuts to have them rolling all over the patio. Let me save you the trouble. Don't bother. These suckers are going to go all over the place and there's nothing you can do about it. Even when your little one is trying to keep them in the bin, they're slippery and bouncy and they go everywhere. This is part of the fun. I had to set my compulsions aside and let the Eskimo play (good advice on any day, really). I tried to keep his play focused over the bin for the most part, but didn't worry about the stray beads.

Have a few different utensils available to your little one. We had a couple different spoons and a measuring cup. He loved filling the measuring cup up with the spoon, or having one of us pour the beads into his hands. He also loved pouring them into our hands. In the last picture, you can see the Eskimo trying to balance the beads on the back of his hands. Cute!

Most of all, let your child direct this activity. You will be amazed at what he (or she) comes up with. Let him dig his whole arms in, let him put his feet in, let him fling beads across the yard. He is learning with each and every one of these things. That being said, we did have one rule: not in your mouth. While these beads are safe for play, ingesting them is not recommended. So keep an eye on your little one.

And by the way, it was in the 80's down here in Texas today, so outside diaper time was totally appropriate. If it's still cold where you are, consider a midday bath activity. You'll have to be prepared to clean up slimy little beads from all over the floor, but it will be really fun. And I kid you not, the Eskimo played exclusively with these for over 2 and a half hours today. Incredible!!

Final note: at the end of this activity, you're left with a whole bunch of water beads. I've decided to make use of a some of them. I found a clear glass jar in our recycling bin and filled it with water beads. I've stuck a garlic clove in there, and I'm eager to see if it will sprout. I also took a few of the leftover beads and put them in an empty water bottle to make another sensory bottle for the Eskimo. I will post pictures of both tomorrow, but my camera is retired for the night. :)  Enjoy!

ETA: Here are the pics

1 comment:

  1. We have been having fun with crystal water beads, and I would have never thought to bring them outside. Good to know they are safe for the garden. I hope you come by and share this tomorrow at The Outdoor Play Party.