About a week or so ago I made this video about salt painting and the great response from people all over the world really surprised me. It’s been incredible getting all these messages from different families showing their children’s salt painting art work, saying thanks for such a simple activity. It got me thinking that there are probably other things we do around here that aren’t common in most other homes, but still totally doable if more moms knew about them. So here you go. WATER BEADS!!! They deserve all caps because water beads and kids are total bffs and playing with them will make your summer totally rock. Keep reading for all the details and check out the vid below so you can see them in action.
*Safety First* – Water Beads cannot be ingested. That would not be good. So if you have little ones who like to put things in their mouth still, check out alternative options that totally rock, below.
You can buy a jumbo bag of water beads online prime here or most craft stores carry them for super cheap. I think they also have them at the dollar store and maybe even your local florist. They are often used in vases for snazzy decor.
If you want color sorted ones, I like these.
Water beads come in a package in tiny little hard balls. You just put them in water and after a few hours they grow and grow to about the size of a dime or sometimes a nickel if you get lucky. Get a largish bowl, put in a handful of water beads, and add cold water over them to about the top of the bowl. It doesn’t really matter how much water. Just make sure they are fully submerged. If they soak up all the water and they don’t look that plump, just add more water. That’s it! Drain and they are ready to bounce, smoosh, mix and squeeze.
If you have a toddler, you can try these toddler safe water beads aka tapioca pearls. Yup! Isn’t that cool? You can see a pic or two here. I find that these work well. You boil them in water according to the directions on the package. After you get them all plump they are ready to go. I like to take a handful and put them in cups with water and then add a few drops of food coloring to the cups. It gives them a little color kick. Also, they can be a little sticky, so I’ve found that they work best in a tub of water that the kids can play with. They make for a great rainbow soup.
You can also make these rainbow sensory bags that kids love. My girls wanted these to be their pillows for the longest time.
As you can see, we took our water bead play outside. I have a big low tub from Ikea that is great for pouring them all in. My kids love to stand in the bucket. They also love to mix them in bowls, make water bead cupcakes in a cup cake tin, mix water bead soup (water and water beads) and just use their imagination to play around with them. If you set up a table with some bowls, spoons, scoopers and more bowls, you’re pretty much golden.
One of the best parts about water beads is that you can use them over and over again. When you’re done, just put them in a ziploc and they’ll go back to their original size over time. Just add more water when you want to use them again. I keep mine in the fridge. Not sure if you can leave them out and they will stay fresh? If anyone knows, please let us know in the comments below.
So, there you go. Another summer time favorite from the Cherry household. I hope you are intrigued and give water beads a try. It’s really figuring out a way to contain them so you’re not freaking out that water beads are bouncing all over your house. Some people put them in the bathtub, which is really fun, but you have to be careful about drain issues. Don’t let those little suckers down there and you’re all good. Here’s a whole list of activities from my friend Jean over at The Artful Parent. She has some great ideas! I love the idea of using them with shaving cream. We have to try that.
Thanks for reading along everyone and have fun! Meri