We have recently discovered water beads and our life has changed forever :-). They are so much fun and there is an endless number of activities you can do with them. Today I decided to make an under the sea sensory box for my kids. My kids (almost 3 y.o. and 1 y.o) had a blast!!!

So what are the water beads? Water beads are tiny dehydrated crystal gels that are made from water-absorbing polymer. You put the beads in a bowl, add water, and once the beads start to absorb the water they begin to grow.

I got mine from Amazon, they came in a pack of 3: blue, transparent and blue, and green. I’m sure they will last a long time because you really don’t need a lot to create this sensory box.


As you can see from the photo, I used maybe a little more than a tablespoon, and it was enough to fill a small box.

It usually takes 8 hours for them to expand to a full size, but we were too impatient to wait. So in about 30 minutes or so we drained the water and started to play. Even though they weren’t big they were still fun to play with. At the beginning, Christian wanted to eat them and I don’t blame him, just look at these water beads, they look like candy, who wouldn’t want to eat them?! 🙂


When I put kids for their nap, I added water to the bowl again and let the water beads sit. In 2 hours they expanded even more, that’s when Christian REALLY enjoyed playing with them. He was so into them that even when I left the kitchen to change David’s diaper he didn’t go with us (usually he follows) instead he stayed to play with the water beads and fishes that I got for him from Amazon . These fishes come in a pack of 12 and are made from a hard plastic. Ideally, sea creatures that are made from a softer material will be better to play with water beads, but the ones that we have are good too.


I also added these finger puppets that I got from Oriental Trading as party favors for David’s upcoming one-year birthday party.


Another game that Christian really enjoyed was taking water beads and fish from the strainer and putting them in a box using a small ladle. It’s great for his motor skills, plus it’s teaching him measurements.



David also enjoyed playing with water beads, but his main goal was just to put them in his mouth, so I had to watch him really closely. But that got a little intense, so I decided to put water beads in a ziplock bag and I also added a little frog and a fish there for him, so that he could squish the bag and just play a little more freely. But of course, you still need to monitor your kids when playing with water beads, especially if they are under 3 years old.


Have you ever tried playing with water beads? What games do your kids like to play using them?

xo JANE xo

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