Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Water beads + toddler = fun times!

Ahhh Pinterest, how I love thee. I recently added a new pin board detailing some fun ideas for playtime with the kids and it's inspired me to try out some new low cost activities with my boys (2 and 8yrs).


The 1st activity to catch my eye was play with water beads. Water beads are those jelly like marble size balls that you see in vases - they soak up water so are perfect for lining plant pots. I didn't realise they were safe for play but after some research I found them to be non toxic and made from environmental material so as long as I stayed with Milo whilst he is playing then I think we'll be fine. (I wouldn't recommend them for younger children as they could be a choking hazard.)
I found them on Amazon (of course) and it was 30 packs for just £7 delivered. Bargain! As you only need to add water to activate them they really are a low cost activity. As soon as they arrived we put 2 packs in a bowl filled with water and left them to grow throughout the day. There are no directions on how much water to add but we filled the bowl and left a few inches to the top just in case.
Every few hours me and the boys would go and see how they were developing, I didn't tell them what would happen and I encouraged them to try and work out how the tiny beads would change. Fin decided they would all stick together and form a mouldable object like playdough!
By the next day the beads were fully grown and the boys loved the feel of them. I'm trying to help Fin with his fine motor skills so we tried picking them up and squishing them to get a real feel for their density. Milo also liked adding toys to his bowl of beads as they quickly became covered and hidden so he could rediscover them to his hearts delight.
I pinned a great blog post which details all the fun you can have with beads and I'd really recommend giving them a go. We also froze a small bowl full of the fully grown beads to see what would happen and as well as feeling different they also started to break up once defrosted (image below). I can imagine lots of squelchy fun in the water table during the summer months, and they make a great stress reliever for me...
We're storing them in a water bottle right now and I think they'll last about a week after some solid playing with. Even when they start to break up I think they're still usable - they remind me of jellfibaff to give you an idea of the texture.

They probably sell them in garden centres and craft shops but the ones I bought were listed as 'safe for play' whereas some don't have that written on them. They're roughly the size of a marble so as mentioned previously I would advise monitoring playtime, I can see Milo absent mindedly popping one in his mouth but non toxic doesn't mean completely safe. I REALLY do advise having a go with these, they are sooo much fun!


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