Why Use Water Beads for Sensory Play?

We happen to love sensory bins. We use them all the time and I love to mix up how we use them.

And water beads are one of our favorites! It is a great sensory play that is flexible and can be used in many different ways.

Plus it is has been one of the most popular sensory bin types on 3 Dinosaurs. And can lead to hours of sensory play!

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy to make sensory play with water beads for all year plus a few ways we use the water beads - 3Dinosaurs.com

Please make sure your child is old enough to use these and does not put items in their mouth. I would not suggest this for kids under 3. You know your own child best. This activity should be done under constant adult supervision.

Water beads can be very flexible and come in loads of colors. They are easy to make and play in.

We have enjoyed them in so many different ways. But nothing says you can’t just have a bin of just water beads. Plus you can change up the same bin by adding items into it.

They are super easy to make and store. We have a water bead sensory bin around at all times. I’ve made ones that were just for birthday parties as well.

Plus keep scrolling to get answers on some of the questions I get about water beads.

What you need to make a water bead sensory bin

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

How to make the water bead sensory bin

You pour the beads into the bin. I like to have a deep one so we can add a lot of beads. We used half of the container on beads.

You can see the size of the beads before they grow.

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

Next, you add water. After we add the water we mixed the beads up a little so they don’t stick to the bottom of the bin. You can use warm water to help them expand faster.

I like to put the lid on the bin and come back and check them every hour. It may take a few hours to expand all the way.

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

Here is a look at the water beads in the bin. You can see how big they go and it filled up half of the container.

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

Some common questions I get asked about water beads in sensory bins

I always get loads of questions about using water beads and I thought I would answer a few.

How long can you keep water beads?

We tend to keep ours for about three months. But we have done longer. In order to keep the water beads longer, you need to store them in a container with a good lid.

I also have them wash their hands before playing in the bin to help keep dirt and germs out.

How do you keep them beads from breaking?

I have yet to keep the beads from breaking tons. But you can monitor them while they are playing. I like to tell them if they keep the beads for getting squished. They can break them all when we are done. And I do know that we do break some as we use the bin off and on.

How do you keep kids interested in the bin?

I know that some kids love and bin and some don’t. But I find that adding other items like toobs or erasers to the bin helps kids play in them longer.

What type of water beads do you use?

I have used the ones for plants and ones they sell for kids’ toys. You need to make sure they are non-toxic for which ever you get. I have found that some for the plants that are colored the color tends to leak out of them. So be careful using them. I tend to stick clean with those and get the toy version for color now.


Ways to Play in the Water Beads

Just play with your hands in the water beads

I love just having a set of water beads that kids can play in. They have loads of fun just moving their hands through the beads. And guess what all ages can play in these beads!

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

We always have a blast scooping them up in big handfuls! You can see all the different colors of the beads.

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

Use mini cups in the water beads

We have a set of mini cups that we use with the beads all the time. They can scoop pour and have fun in the beads with them. They can be creative with them. We got our cups for Tupperware a few years ago.

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

You can scoop and pour and have fun. I always have extra cups or items in the bin so they can play any way they want. It is a fun bin to play in.

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

Put items in the bin

I have several examples of water bead sensory bins you can check out. I’ll have some links at the end of the post. But we love putting Toobs in the bin.

We put some whales, dolphins, and sharks in the bin. I pulled out the two toobs and we just had fun with them all in the bin.

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

Any time we put items in the bin I have them take it out afterward.

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy sensory play with water beads for all year - 3Dinosaurs.com

Have you played with water beads? If you have not given it a try you just might like it!

Check out these other water bead sensory bins

Shark Water Bead Sensory Bin

Ocean Water Bead Sensory Bin

Fall Color Water Bead Search

Penguin Water Bead Sensory Bin

Big & Small Ocean Water Bead Search

Space Water Bead Sensory Bin

Shell and Water Bead Sensory Bin

Rock & Water Bead Sensory Bin

Black and White Space Themed Water Bead Sensory Bin

Cassie – 3Dinosaurs.com

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy to make sensory play with water beads for all year plus a few ways we use the water beads - 3Dinosaurs.com

Water Beads Sensory Bin - easy to make sensory play with water beads for all year plus a few ways we use the water beads - 3Dinosaurs.com

About Cassie

Cassie is a mom of three stomping, romping, and roaring girls. She blogs about fun art and craft activities and printables she makes. She includes the odd review of products every now and then. She also blogs about the places that she has taken the girls called trip reviews. She has a few free printable pack for kids ages 2 to 8 and always adding more. She loves to get comments and feedback and always looking for new things to try or do with her girls.
This entry was posted in sensory, sensory bin and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Why Use Water Beads for Sensory Play?

  1. Sarah says:

    We love water beads too! Looks like they had a lot of fun. I would love for you to share this with my sensory play party linky today when you have a chance!
    http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/ultimate-sensory-play-party-linky-2/

  2. Lejarie says:

    will the bead last more than one day?

    • Cassie says:

      I don’t know we did not keep them around. I would have to ask around.

    • Diane says:

      I have used water beads with my preschool class and we absolutely love them!!
      They will last for at least a week, I just rinsed them off each day to try to keep them a little clean. The only problem I had with keeping them, was that some of my kids like to squish them and then they weren’t balls anymore. I think it bothered me more than the kids, they still played with them and liked them. You can also let them dry out and then ‘re-hydrate’ them again. I brought a few home to test it out. It took a few days for them to completely dry out, but they puffed right back up when we soaked them in water.

  3. Laurel says:

    Thanks for this post! You reminded me I still have a bunch of these for the kids to play with. I’ll have to get them out soon. 🙂

  4. Beth says:

    What fun!

    I had to laugh when I thought back to the first time I bought water beads, not really knowing what they were for. I thought they would look pretty in a vase with flowers (you know, like marbles), so I dumped the whole bag into the vase, added flowers and water, and before I knew it, there was no water left. I added more. Soon it was gone, and beads were spilling out of the top of my vase, so I took some out and added more water. This went on for about 3-4 rotations until finally, my husband suggested, “maybe that’s not the best application for this product.”

    • Cassie says:

      The ones I bought showed them with flowers. They grow a lot more than you expect that is for sure. It said only use a little amount in flowers. It was fun to watch them grow.

  5. Pingback: Coloring Water Beads | 3 Dinosaurs

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