25 Things to DO with Water Beads

By now you have probably seen the cool water beads that you can play with somewhere: preschool, a daycare or summer day camp, etc. You can read our first post about them and our other sensory bin ideas here.

If you have seen these awesome silky beads, you’ve probably seen the fabulous look on the kids’ faces as their eyes light up when they stick their hands in the beads. I just took our beads to a bazaar Saturday and the highlight of my night was the expression on each face as they touched and played with the beads. Even adults loved it! It’s therapeutic. It really is. They also gave me some more great ideas for PLAYING with them, all which I included for you here!

If you haven’t gotten some for your own home, you can buy them here.

Basic Info about your Water Beads:

1 oz Multipurpose Water beads = about 1 gallon.


They start our small and grow! It’s so much fun to watch!

Directions: submerse in water in a large container and let sit for a few hours to allow to grow to full size. Use in sensory kits, plants, decorative jars, etc. Rinse after each use and store in an airtight container. Do NOT store in water; drain well before storing. To wash, put in a colander or strainer and pour in a bit of soap. Foam soap works well. Use a water sprayer to spray off the beads and allow to dry some before storing or play again.


Water Beads. 1 oz makes about a gallon

Ideas for Play:

  1. Put in a bin and play! Use different containers to pour, shake and fill
  2. Compare piles of beads to practice the concepts of more or less
  3. Estimate how many in a jar etc.
  4. Measure containers and compare volume – shape matters
  5. Put in colored water…does the water bead color change?
  6. Put in a plastic bag to take along in the car. Kids like to feel the beads inside the bag.
  7. Allow your child to smash the beads inside the bag
  8. Hide Legos inside the beads and build something with what you find.
  9. Add submersible lights
  10. Add to bath time
  11. Put in a vase for a plant or flowers. They work great for plants that don’t require soil- like bamboo trees, etc.
  12. Make a night light using submersible lights: place the lights at the bottom of a jar…2to 3 and then fill the jar with the beads. Place in bathroom or bedroom. The draw back on this it that the lights are always on.
  13. Make a themed kit.  To order some we have made ready for you: deafsense.com/store
Water Beads in a Themed Kit: Insect Sensory World


Water Beads in a Themed Kit: Insect Sensory World

14. Use different colors of beads…sort them with your child.

15. Count the beads to practice one to one correspondence

16. Use beads to practice following directions: “put the beads in the jar” “pour them out.”

17. Exploration time: allow your child quiet time to do whatever she or he wants with the beads. (within reason, of course… and with you right near)

18. Cool down for kids with anxiety or anger disorders. (Personal experience)

19. Fill a wading pool outside and jump in.

20. Fill an old water bottle or other plastic bottle with the beads. This will require fine motor skills and hand- eye coordination. Make sure to place the bottle in a bin so you don’t end up with beads all over the floor. Put the lid on and shake it up!

21. Draw a circle with chalk outside on the sidewalk or drive way. Take turns flicking the beads to see how many you can get inside of the circle.

22. Use in a Touch and feel box where the players can’t see what is in the box. This is fun at Halloween when the beads could become eyeballs.

23. Laminate flashcards and hide them in the water beads.

24. Use water bead time for language development time and use your parallel and descriptive talk.

25. Use water bead time to create meaningful language and opportunities for turn taking in conversation.

*note… the strategies referred to in the recent links can be done using ASL or any language.                                                 **Note to self, blog about these soon!

If you hurry, you could give your child this gift this Holiday Season, and give yourself the gift of a huge smile and happy hands!