Water Bead Sensory Science

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Water Bead Sensory Science

Has your family dived into playing with water beads? We decided to make it educational by exploring the science behind water beads in our homeschool. It was also a great sensory activity for my toddler and preschooler.
Water Bead Preschool Science - this is such a fun, hands on science experiment for prek, kindergarten, first grade, second grade

More Hands-On Homeschool Lessons

Believe it or not, we had yet to try water beads - the rage around popular kids blogs for months. So we added them to our summer bucket list. Boy am I glad we did! They are so cool!  So basically you put a pack of mustard-seed-size balls in water and 1-4 hours later you have marble size, water-filled, flexible balls!
water bead sensory science play for toddler, preschool, and homeschool

Homeschool Science - Exploring Water Beads

Being a homeschooling Mom I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to squeeze in some learning too!  So we worked through the Scientific Method:

Questions: Can we color clear water beads?

water bead experiment #1

Hypothesis: Yes, but only if they aren't already filled with water

Experiment: Putting water beads in 3 different solutions

trying to color clear waterbeads with 3 different solutions

Results: All water beads changed color regardelss of their pre coloring water saturation.

scientific method results

How long does it take for a waterbead to get full size?

We also observed how the mass changed as they sat in water longer. But no matter how long they stayed in water after 3 hours they remained  the same. (Don’t they look like marbles!)
water bead experiment #2

Water Bead Sensory Play for Toddler and Preschoolers

Then it was time to let the kids explore & PLAY! They had hours of fun scooping, sorting, and feeling the unique texture.  All the kiddos (and Mom) played, but these pictures of Tinker Bell are my favorites =-)
Water Bead Sensory Play for Toddler and Preschoolersthis is FUN

I LOVE the colors/look of this picture. Tinker Bell (21 months) thought this was SUPER funny!
it feels squishy

Note: I do want to point out that although water beads are a LOT of fun & a great sensory experience, they are not intended for children. They are actually for flowers. My kids were closely supervised during our playtime and we carefully looked for any stray bead before finishing the activity. Please use your best judgment if this is a good activity for your child.

What’s your favorite thing to do with water beads?


  1. I haven't had the courage to use these yet. I got a 2.5 y.o. and when I saw these at the store and the risks involved... I decided against it!

    They do look fun though. :)

  2. I've used water beads several time and am always very aware of how they are being handled. Like Tereza says there are risks.
    But they were so much fun in our frog play
    It was easy to imagine that they feel like frog eggs.

  3. Thanks for this idea! My kids loved it!

  4. Where can I find these water beads?

  5. We love using water beads here. They're fun to throw into the kid's swimming pool. It was a great addition at the birthday party to get children to stick their hands into a mystery box full of water beads, and we had a blast with water bead wars this past summer in our backyard. Our backyard is all rocks, and it's interesting to note that after the wars and getting stomped into the ground the beads seemed to eventually disappear only to reappear again the next time it rained.