I do a lot of reading.  And, since one of my loves is arts and crafts, I look at a lot of crafting web sites.  I’m always looking for something new and fun for Levi to do.  I also teach art at FP Preschool and love to find new ideas for the children.   A few months ago, I began seeing a lot of info on water beads.  So I explored.  Sounded like fun…and an extra for the Boogaloo Camp boys.

The beads are actually vase fillers that have been around for a long time.  Some clever crafter just found a new way to use them!  The ones I bought were from Hobby Lobby in their floral department.  They did not have a good selection of colors, but, I got 3 different ones.  They look similar to this…






When you pour them out they are very tiny…



Then comes the magic!  I let the boys play with the beads as they were for a while, then told them the beads were growing beads!  I used one of the big aluminum throw away casserole dishes…the biggest and deepest I could find.  Then I let the boys pour lots of water into the pan and added the tiny beads.  It wasn’t long before they started getting bigger…and bigger and bigger!  We had to add more water once.  After several hours,we could see them growing.  The next day, they were at their maximum size.  So we poured off all the water, and let them have it.  This is the size difference.


Oh, my, they were mesmerized!  We adults were, too.  It is a totally sensory experience.  The beads feel wet, but are not.  They have turned into balls of a jelly like material.  And, we found out they would bounce, too.  But, that was not an inside game!  They ran their arms through them…picked them up and let them slide through their fingers, dropped them on top of the others…just exploring this new sensation.

I left the pan sitting out and it was amazing.  No one…kids or adults could walk past without running their finger through them.  It attracted everyone.  And, they just felt so good.  I left them out for about 4 days, and they were just starting to shrink some.  That may vary depending on conditions where you are.

Levi has quite a collection of little sea toys he keeps at the beach…creatures and boats, etc.  So we took those and hid them under all the beads, and they had great fun seeing what they would pull out.  They would try to guess what it was by feeling before they pulled it out!




Suzanne was most intrigued! In fact, she used the same idea this week in VBS at her church…calling them ‘fish bubbles’.  Their theme for the week was Submerged…all about the sea.   The children were amazed!




She ordered a big bag from Amazon…they are much cheaper that way.



And, by the way, if you let them dry completely out, you can start the project all over again.  They shrink back to the original size.  Not quite sure how long this takes.

In one of the web sites, it suggests to give each child a clear bottle…like an empty water bottle…and have them drop 8-10 beads inside.  Then fill with water…and watch the fun begin.  They will float and move from top to bottom.  I think I’ll try that.



If you mix the colors, it can also be a great sorting game!

One word of warning!  These are NOT EDIBLE!  So do not use with children who want to put everything in their mouths.  HOWEVER, in my perusing the craft sites, I did come upon a recipe to make some that were edible.  Didn’t try it, but you can google it and find it easy enough.

Just thought you Moms and Grandmoms may want to try this out.  Not much mess and loads of fun!

Another Lulu/Levi project