science · sensory

water beads and DIY light table

Have you tried water beads? My goodness, these things are so cool. 

We got ours for a few bucks online, but I’ve also heard they can be found at craft stores in the floral/wedding sections. Lucas is really into the color blue lately, so we mixed turquoise and blue for our first batch. NOW I WANT ALL THE COLORS. I soaked the beads in a plastic bin of water overnight (at least 6-8 hours), and they were ready to go!

These beads are plenty on their own, but I decided to combine them with something I’ve always wanted to try… a DIY light table! Our Christmas lights are still in my parents’ garage from our move, and I was saved by our lovely neighbor! Thank you K! I put the lights in a plastic bin, and flipped it. (My bin has a white top. If yours is clear, no need to flip.) Plug it in and bam! Light table. I see lots of projects in the future…

Water beads. I can’t even describe the feeling of this activity. There was just something about the colors and the light and the coolness and the texture of the beads. Do it. It’s so worth it. I might just keep a bowl of them on the kitchen counter to calm myself when the boys are going bananas. Ok, probably not. But I should. 

Jackson and I started our exploration while Lucas slept. He was blown away. “They’re so wiggly! And jiggly! They feel GOOD!” 

We spent a long time just moving them around with our hands. There are so many ways to use water beads in imaginative invitations to play (we might add water animals next to draw on our ocean wall theme), but for this first introduction, I wanted to keep it simple. We used scoops, measuring spoons, small bottles, bowls, and Crystal Light containers. 

I added a scale after a while, and J measured and weighed and dumped and on and on. Sensory, math, science, language development, fine motor practice, fun, beauty. Woot woot! 

(FYI: Water beads bounce! I put down a large blanket because they were flyyyyying across our hardwoods.)

Lucas joined us for a while and was all about the wooden spoon. He is such a riot. “BLUE! BLUE!” After a few minutes, it was “EAT! EAT!” and it was time for dinner. The toddler stomach doesn’t wait. But we’ll come back to these beads soon! Maybe even tomorrow. They are pretty cool.


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