Water Beads Sensory Play


4 – 6 years

Scoop, squeeze and sort. Water beads allow children to explore new textures and are great for helping to understand the concept of ‘cause and effect’. 


    • Coloured water beads – 2 tsps. 
    • 3 cups of water 
    • Large transparent jar or bowl (to grow your water beads) 
    • Large bin 
    • Measuring scoops or spoons 
    • Small cups and containers 
    • Towel 

        Growing the water beads

        1. Fill a large transparent jar with 3 cups of lukewarm water, then add 2 tsps. of water beads.
        2. Leave the beads fully submerged in the water for at least 2 hours. (Read the manufacturer’s instructions as growing time varies.)

        Watching the beads grow will stir your child’s natural curiosity and have them asking lots of questions. 

        SAFETY FIRST – Water beads are dangerous if swallowed. Adult supervision is required.

         Set up the environment

        1. Place the expanded beads into a large bin along with scoops and small containers. Take a moment to explore the smooth, slippery texture of the beads.
        2. Use the scoops and containers to sort the beads by colour or any other creative combinations you desire (eg. colours of trees, water, bright colours vs dark colours, etc.)
        3. When finished, lay the beads on a towel to dry off. They will gradually revert to their original size and can be stored away for future use. 

        At Learning Jungle, we believe all children are capable, confident and full of potential. Co-learning empowers your child to take initiative. Encouraging child participation and engaging in open-ended, thought-provoking conversation throughout play is important for healthy child development.

        What are water beads?

        Water beads are small non-toxic round balls made from water-absorbing sodium polyacrylate. As the beads absorb water, they expand in size. Expansion depends on the length of time they remain submerged in water. For example: 1mm beads submerged in lukewarm water for 8 hours can grow to 1.5cm. 

        Conversations with your child

        • What do you think will happen when the beads get wet? 
        • What do water beads feel like? 
        • What colours do you see? 
        • How many beads do you think are in the bin? 
        • Do water beads bounce? 
        • What happens when you squeeze them? 

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