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?

Beth Gorden
Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is a homeschooling mother of six who strives to enjoy every moment with her kids through hands-on learning, crafts, new experiences, and lots of playing together. Beth is also the creator and author of 123 Homeschool 4 Me where she shares 1000+ free printables, creative homeschool lessons, crafts, and other fun ideas to help preschool and homeschooling families have fun while learning and exploring together.