Fun With Water Beads
Thursday, 1 May 2014
On our last visit there I was drawn to something I've been tempted to try for some time, water beads! I'm not one for popping into florist supply shops on a whim and I never quite got round to ordering them online so this seemed almost like an omen. I'll admit to being a trifle suspicious at what we'd get for a £1 so the skeptical side of me purchased two boxes just in case.
It's a rather simple process, you simply add the minuscule little packets of colourful doo-dahs to water. They came with their own test tubes with the suggestion you fill it with a colour of your choice. Sod that. It would be akin to picking out a particular colour from cake sprinkles. Never to do something by halves we opted instead to dump both packs into a large bowl of water. The idea is you then observe as they grow. I'm never quite sure who has the least spectacular attention span, myself or The Preschooler, regardless, neither of us were bored enough to stare at a bowl of water for longer than a few minutes. Granted they did grow, yet they seemed to stop producing a deflated 'is that it?!' reaction from the both of us. To say it was underwhelming would be an understatement. I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt as the instructions have no indication as to how long it should take for them to expand fully.
We checked on their progress about an hour or so later and this was more liking to what I had expected, we
had a slimy bowl of multicoloured marble sized balls in water. It's impossible to gaze upon them and not plunge your hand into them. There is something creepy yet utterly satisfying about the slippery slime of the water and these slippery balls. Granted the little buggers like escaping and they're an arse to pick up off the floor.
Their charm proved irresistible to Thing Two also. She couldn't stop herself from plunging her hand into them. In her usual effortless way she encouraged play through asking The Preschooler to find certain colours to make 'potions' as I introduced some measuring cups and the test tubes.
Seeing water slop all over the show I drained the beads so they had the shiny, glistening, oddly textured little balls of delight to play with, without the added mess of water. This proved equally as satisfying to them and just as beguiling. I feared they'd have a limited attraction, a mere novelty yet they audibly groaned when I told them it was time to tidy up and the first thing Thing Two requested to play with upon arriving home from school today was the water beads.
They are tempting though. Just a mere glance of them is teasing to the senses. I'll admit to having dunked
by hand into them on several occasions today in passing.
I think they'd look stunning over a lightbox in a dark room. They'd also be more engaging with a longer shallower tub to hold them in.
These are sublime for sensory play and are helpful in teaching colours and the notions of absorbing and expanding. If you haven't tried them already, I highly recommend you give them a go.