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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
We always have a blast scooping them up in big handfuls! You can see all the different colors of the beads.
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.
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.
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.
Any time we put items in the bin I have them take it out afterward.
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
Cassie – 3Dinosaurs.com