Sensory Play – Ocean Water Beads

Lifestyle / Friday, May 20th, 2016

Ocean water beads activity

Water Table Play Time

I seriously can’t get enough of the sunshine. My Bean and I have been trying to soak up as much sunshine as we possibly can. Which means there is time for lots of frozen snacks and outdoor water table play.

Continuing on with our RAD Water Table Sensory Play idea series, I wanted to share our Ocean Water Beads water table experience with you. It was super fun, and thankfully lasted a few more days than the Moon Dough did.

Moon Dough

The Moon dough last week was lots of fun. Making moulds of stars from the sand/dough-like substance, driving through the dough with tractors, and then the wicked awesome science experiment at the end… if you haven’t yet managed to check it out, I highly suggest you do. It’s easy, quick, and entertainment for the whole day. From morning to Dinner.

Pick up water bead materials at the dollar store

Ocean Water Beads

I was wandering through the dollar store, as per my usual weekly trip (I lurve the dollar store), browsing through the gardening section. I stumbled upon some water beads which I have used before RIP Bamboo Sticks of 2014 and remember how cool it was that they sucked up the water and expanded.

Then I thought – hey, this would be cool for Gregory to see… and play with. BAM. Sensory play table idea created. That and I had seen many Pinterest pins during my many-a-Pinterest-Pinning-Sprees. Seeing the beads in store only refreshed my memory of the activity.

Water Beads

I’m sure there are edible, safer ways than the cheap *DO NOT EAT* version I am about to show you. but in all honestly, my goal right now is some cheap fun in the sun. The dollar store is my go-to place to pick up materials unless I research another way. I didn’t have the attention span to do so this day.

So, I repeat, do not let your Little eat the water beads. Read the label to see how to react properly if they do, and never leave them alone. My Bean brought it up to his mouth once, but I said no and he didn’t try it again.

Colour Scheme

I picked out some Purple, Blue and Green water beads. After my own mistake of wanting to separate the colours, I suggest not dumping every package into one bowl and then soak them all in one go. Soak in separate containers, or suffer like me separating them.

To start the table off I placed the Green water beads in the smaller, upper water section. These beads were room temperature and reminded me of tropical ocean water. Oooooh baby, take me back to Hawaii!

In the larger water section of the table I placed the majority of the purple beads down first. These beads were frozen, and a nice dark shade that reminded me of the depths of an ocean. It adds a great variety to the sensory play by changing up the water bead temperatures.

Ontop of the purple beads I put the blue beads with a slight mix of purple and green. These beads I had in the fridge and were cool to the tough, very nice on the hot day we played. As you can see in the ourRADhouse family vlog below, Gregory shoves his forearms into the beads at one point. This is an excellent trick to cool down your core temp quickly… I learned this from a Firefighter.

Gregory Shark biting the Frog

Animal Toys

Water Beads alone feel pretty cool, but aren’t that entertaining. I went to Value Village and searched the pre-packaged toy bags for some ocean critters. I found several bags and chose 2 that were under $3.00 each. I haven’t yet started to collect little plastic animal toys yet for Gregory to play with, this is the start of our collection.

Animal toys are great for imagination and learning. Imagine you are a whale rider in the arctic, gliding on the ocean as the crisp water splashes up and sprays in your face. Or maybe be like Gregory and pretend to feed the animal. Either way, it’s cool. Let your imagination, or your childs’, take control… or go crazy.

Set Up

To set up, clean your water table. It’s not good to have dirty water, surface, toys, or other nasty on your table to start with. Also, clean up the toys you’re going to be using. I had just bought mine, but they were used, so I did wash them the night before.

It takes about 8-12 hours for the water beads to expand to their full potential. So I put my beads in water at midnight. If you do this, please make sure you put enough water, like, put lots. It will soak it up, and expand to the water level height. I ended up adding water four times, and separating the beads into three bowls because they expanded and used to much water.

Once expanded, rinse thoroughly and throw into the table. You can either leave it in the table as is, or add some extra water to the bead. Adding the extra water creates a really cool effect.

Just Add Water

The look of the beads with water will look like a lake with still water and cool blobs of colours if you had tri-colour like us. Then once you put your hand in the water you feel the beads. Its rather unexpected at first, I never really got used to the feeling which made it fun to do over and over and over again. You look and expect smooth water, but feel bubbles.

Note: The Beads will keep absorbing the water added, and if left overnight or multiple nights they will get soggy, mushy and squish easily. Remove the water to make your beads last longer.


ourRADhouse Experience

I hope you try this Sensory activity with your Little, and let me know what critters you went with in your ocean theme. We had killer whales, a dolphin, seagulls, even had good ol’ ‘Nessie in there. Check out some photos I managed to snap and the ourRADhouse family vlog at the bottom to see the whole activity in action!


The Shark is biting Gregory! Water Beads close up photo Gregorys arms in the water beads Gregory squishing his ocean water beads Gregory playing in the Ocean Water Beads

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