Water beads have been around for a while, most commonly used for decorative purposes. But more and more parents are discovering that they’re actually an amazing sensory tool for children to develop their fine motor skills. It’s a great way for them to use their hands, become more confident holding things and have a great time whilst doing it. It’s excellent preparation before they start school.
Water beads are polymer materials that grow from the size of a pinhead to the size of a marble when you add them to water. It takes a few hours, but once they’ve fully absorbed the water they become these wonderful colourful water balls that feel great to touch and are fun to play with.
Here are 4 great sensory ways your kids can play with them
Arranging items by colour has long been a popular learning tool for kids, but because water beads are so interesting for your kids to handle, they’re more likely to maintain their interest. Also because they can be a bit slippery, it encourages children to be much more mindful of their hands and finger movements which is much better for their development. And if you have enough of them, it also has the added benefit of providing a little quiet time.
A little messy but the kids will love it. Fully immerse the water beads in large amounts of shaving cream and then have the kids go searching for them. This is great sensory play because they’ll have to operate purely on feel. For even greater effect, take all the clear coloured water beads and put them in the bath. Once they’re in the water they’ll be totally invisible which will make for a great treasure hunt.
Make them glow in a sensory bin
This one is most fun for the younger kids. Simply add them to a large tub of water and toss in a few glow sticks. The water beads will light up and look amazing in the water. For them it will be like having their hands in a colourful magic pool. Have them practise picking up as many as they can in their hands and then let them fall back into the water from up high. Adorable to watch and so much fun for them.
Nothing complicated about this one, but it’s a great game for the development of fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. Plus because the water beads are soft and can roll around, the kids might be surprised to find it’s harder than they think to pop them. A little toy hammer or perhaps even a solid potato masher from the kitchen should do the trick.
ABOUT THE EXPERT
Water Beads Australia. Our water beads are fun, versatile and look absolutely stunning. They’re ideal for home decor, centrepieces, vases, gardening, school projects or just some good old fashioned crafty fun.