Have you heard of water beads? They’re polymer beads that you soak in water for 24 hours, and they expand into these fun squishy balls. I first saw them on the Play At Home Moms blog. A couple weeks ago one of my friends bought them for her kids, and then another friend did, and then another. It was like a chain reaction, once we all saw them, we had to have them! I bought mine at Walmart in the floral section (they’re usually used for flower arrangements), but you can order them from Amazon or pick them up in any toy store (they sell under the name Orbeez, and are used in a few different kids toys).
Things you should know about water beads:
They’re an awesome sensory toy for kids. Heck even adults like them. My husband spent over an hour playing with them. Okay, so did I!
They can squish. They turn into a weird gel when squished, and can get a little messy if you smash them into the floor. So be careful!
They’re non-toxic. I don’t recommend snacking on them, but at least they’re safe for kids!
They can hydrate, dehydrate, and then you can rehydrate them again! I believe the package I bought said they can be reused for about 2 years.
A little goes along ways. I bought 3 packages and it’s about a gallon and a half worth once they’ve been hydrated. That’s plenty for a sensory tub.
They bounce. They roll. It might be wise to put your kids somewhere that they can’t go too far. I put a plastic tub in the middle of a plastic pool in my living room, and let the kids play. It was easier to contain them.
They stay hydrated if left in a seal container with a little bit of water. After a little while they may feel slightly slimy (it may just be because they’ve been played with so much!) so it’s a good idea to give them a good rinse in a strainer every once in a while.
You may want to be careful though! These things can be a pain to pick up off the floor. Especially if you turn your back and your two munchkins decide to start pouring them all over your floors, just to see them bounce and roll.
Today we even threw them in the tub with the kids. Water and all. They were a lot of fun for the kids to play with! The clear ones nearly disappear in the water. I gave them a couple strainers and cups, and they had a blast for about 30-40 minutes.
When you’re done, scoop out as many as you can with a fine mesh strainer, and then place the strainer upside down over the drain while the tub drains. This will prevent any of them from going down the drain.
Do you like sensory play? There are SO many ways to do it. The blog I mentioned above has hundreds of posts and ideas! So far we’ve done things like water beads, dry kidney beans, sand, and a ball pit. The kids absolutely love stuff like this! It literally keeps them busy for HOURS. I’d really like to get some rice and dry corn for them to play with, too.