Wednesday, July 11, 2012

* Explore and Play With Waterbeads As A Sensory Material

I'm not posting anything today that you haven't already 
seen a million times on other blogs or on Pinterest.
I'm just sharing OUR first experiences with waterbeads 
and my personal (mixed) feelings about them.

I finally broke down and decided to give waterbeads a try.
My girls LOVE them. 

I didn't tell them I've waited two years to actually let them try them. 
I was hesitant. 
I was worried the beads would unnecessarily expose my girls to icky chemicals.
I heard someone say they're made out of the same material as
contact lenses...that doesn't seem terrible but who really knows. 
We're not playing with them every day.
We're not putting them in the bath tub.
We're not eating them. 
We wash our hands when we're done playing with them.

We have only used them as a fun sensory material for sensory tray/box play
and as a fun addition to our water table on the deck some afternoons. 

I still haven't decided how I really feel about them.
They can NOT be good for the planet.
Which means they're probably not very healthy for us either!

We're planning to play with them in small doses then we're moving on. 

We are adopting a rescue dog in the next few weeks and there is no way
I will have these around him or her. 

Note: Before you bombard me with emails.... 
My girls are 5 and 9 years old.
I would never let a toddler or baby play with these - even with supervision.
I think they would be too tempting to try to eat one. 
If you want to, that's on you.

And...of course, keep them away from pets 
like dogs who will eat anything.

Okay...enough doom and gloom. 
Here's what we did with them and.... 
my girls really do think they are the coolest thing ever!

We bought our beads in the craft/floral arranging department of our local Walmart.
They are tiny like seed beads when you buy them and you have to soak
them in water for an hour or two so they can re-hydrate and plum up. 

That is "C" (age 5) waiting patiently for the pink and blue beads to plump up.
It was a fun science experiment for us.

So pretty. They look like gooey marbles.

We played with them indoors on a hot afternoon in an aluminum pan.
"C" made a frog land with silk leaf lilly pads, plastic frogs, etc. 
Kept her entertained for a solid hour. 

The next day, we added them to our water table
for some fun sensory water play with mermaids, ice boats, sea shells, and plastic animals.

The beads get huge if you leave them in the water table over night.
Some were as big as large gum balls! 

The fish net was a fun addition to the beads - it was fun to scoop them up,
drain the water, and feel the gooey beads.
The girls used drinking straws to drill "core samples" out of the beads
and then strung some on bits of yarn. 

When we are done, we let them dry out then throw them away in the trash.
Do not ever dispose of waterbeads in your sink drains, storm drains, or the toilet.

Pink and Green Mama


Maro s kindergarten said...

I have been following your blog for a long time and I enjoy your every post! I like water beads for sensory play so much! They are the perfect material for kids curiosity!

Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

I really wanted to get these when I stopped at Walmart today, but then I thought of my 2.5 year old kid and decided they were not worth it.

someday maybe, but not now.

they do look tempting though... seem so round and slippery and fun! :)

Erin said...

I tried these a few months back with my 2 1/2 year old. I felt he'd gotten to a point where he wasn't interested in putting everything into his mouth. Our water bead sensory time was VERY closely monitored just in case. He LOVED them, but in the end, I couldn't handle it. He likes to dump everything - those beads scatter and bounce on wood floors like you wouldn't believe (and then collect the dust on my not perfectly clean floors :)). We tried it outside too in our water table, but again, he started dumping them on the grass, which I didn't think was a good idea. So the beads went bye-bye for a very. long. time. However, he STILL asks about them - he really did love them, but I just couldn't handle them! Maybe we'll try a again in a few years.

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