For those who haven’t tried them, water beads are some of the most fun you can have at home with your kids.

They are an amazing sensory and learning tool and there are so many different ways your kids can play with them. Most importantly, they can play a big role in helping your children develop their fine motor skills, something that becomes very important as they start school.

Water beads are a water absorbing polymer material. You place them into water and over the course of around 8 hours, they grow from tiny dots to these lovely colourful spheres that are amazing to touch. This process in itself can be fun for the kids because it teaches them patience and they can enjoy watching them grow over time. A fun suggestion might be to place them in water before bedtime so they can look forward to seeing them fully formed in the morning.

Here are 4 fun sensory play activities with water beads that the kids will love.

Create a sensory bin

This is by far the most popular with the really little ones. Simply place the water beads into a large tub or container and let them plunge their hands in. It’s an amazing sensation and it will encourage more controlled grasping techniques, as they’ll be constantly trying to pick them up.  Cups and funnels are also fun to use in the sensory bin.

Sorting activities

Since they’re so pleasant to the touch, kids will be more interested in colour sorting activities. It’s great for their fine motor skills since they’ll have to be lifted one at a time and will of course teach them about colours. This also promotes patience and mindfulness which can be particularly handy if they (or you) need a bit of quiet time.

Calming bottle

Speaking of quiet time, this one is a personal favourite. You can take an empty plastic bottle and fill it about 80% full with water beads. Try to make it as colourful as you can. Then once the bottle is closed, you can turn it from side to side which creates a lava lamp effect that is both fun and calming at the same time. Keep one in the car. You’re welcome.

Invisible water beads

This can be a fun magic trick for the kids and is a more advanced sensory play activity since they’ll have to go searching purely on feel. Set aside all the clear coloured water beads and place them in the bathtub or another large body of water. Once submerged, they’ll be completely invisible. It will amaze the kids and will make for a great treasure hunt.

Do you have any other ideas for sensory play? Share with us in the comments.

  • Calming bottles sound like a great idea. Make sure the lid is on very tight for safety


  • Bugger the kids. I love playing with them!


  • Thanks for your post – I’ll pass it on for my grandkids. Wish these things were around when my kids were young.


  • Thanks for your article,some great idea’s!


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