Need a new and fun way to keep your toddler (and you) entertained? Water beads are a huge hit on Pinterest. They start out as itty-bitty beads, but when you soak them in water overnight, they expand and become huge, squishy balls of jelly. And they’re super slippery- try to grab a small handful and you’re bound to let a few escape and bounce all over the ground. Did I mention they act just like bouncy balls? You can buy bags of single colors, or a multi-colored bag like I did. The multi-colors are fun, but I think getting something like all blue and green would be cool for ocean activities!
Despite the squishy nature, water beads are fun to play with, toddler and adult alike. Here are 3 of my favorite toddler water bead activities to do with Allison; feel free to use whatever you have laying around at home to recreate these!
First of all, getting the water beads to hydrate is easy. Put about two teaspoons of the beads (Yep, that’s it) in a large bowl and fill halfway to 3/4 full with water. Use more beads if you want to do something crazy like fill a swimming pool. Leave them in the bowl overnight and wake up to a bowl full of jelly-like beads ready to be played with! The container above had maybe 3 teaspoons of beads, and as you can see, it made a ton.
All you need for the color sorting is:
- Hydrated water beads
- Muffin tin
- Measuring cups
Maybe it’s just my compulsive nature, but I just love sorting out the beads and putting the different colors in the muffin tin. Allison’s more a fan of scooping up the beads with the measuring cup and pouring them all in. Either way, you can talk about the colors and try to find all of the same color. Or, try to find the giant-sized ones or the ones with mutated shapes. It’s all fun, and will keep you both busy for quite awhile. I think we’ve been able to spend up to 45 minutes just doing this!
Another fun thing to do is find some favorite toys and let them go swimming. Allison likes using her Little People, but I also bought a small bag of frogs/lizards from the dollar store as a kind of hide-and-seek activity. Teaches her about camouflage as well!
Here’s what you need:
- Hydrated beads
- Quart-sized zipper bag
- Packing tape
Fill the bag with beads, and carefully tape 3 or 4 sides to a window. It looks really pretty in the sunlight, and feels super squishy. It’s also a nice mess-free alternative to these water beads because, as you may have noticed already, these things can get everywhere.
One thing I learned when playing with water beads is you should probably have a soft surface underneath your play area. Carpet, a towel, whatever you need to keep the water beads from bouncing everywhere. We have wood floors in the living room, so you can imagine how fun our first scenario was. I’ve since learned to keep playtime limited to the rug. I also recommend even keeping a towel underneath anyway, because once the beads squish, they disintegrate and get all over the carpet. At least with a towel, you can contain the mess and just shake everything into the trash when you’re done.
Hopefully all this talk of messiness won’t deter you from trying water beads! They really are fun, I promise. And they keep for quite awhile, too; I just make sure there’s at least a couple tablespoons of water in the container and keep the lid sealed, and they usually don’t dry out. Have you ever used water beads before? Share below any ideas that you’ve come up with! I’d love to try out new activities.
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.