Thursday, October 29, 2015

Water Bead Fun

I'll never forget the first time I saw watebeads
One of my kindergarten students had brought them 
in a tin containerShe approached me as if 
hiding a secret and said in a hushed voice, 

"Look, Mrs. Castle, at what I have!"

She opened her tin and I took a look.

What the ARE these?! I was thinking to myself! 
She didn't know the name of them.
And she probably knew her parents didn't want her to have them at school...
hence all the secrecy. 

I remember seeing them wiggle and jiggle around 
in the tin and thinking 'Oh my word-I don't know what this is so she better just put it away real quick and take it back home!'

A few weeks later, I saw a picture on Pinterest of 
these same magical little beads,
 along with a home recipe for making them. 

To my disappointment,
 the recipe didn't work and that was the end of me thinking about them....

Every year, we take our family to participate in 
our church's family camp
My kids look forward to it every year! 
Here's three of them having some fun in the cabin:

This year, one of the activity centers for little kids 
was a sensory themed stations set up. The kids would spend
 about ten minutes or so at every station, exploring and feeling and playing with whatever gooey, slimy,  or messy materials were set out before them. 

That's when I saw the water beads
Lots of colorful, hard to hold, slippery water beads!

I couldn't get my hands out of them! They were so much fun to play with...
yes, even as an adult!

After a few questions, I discovered that they are actually 
hydrating beads used for plants. You bury some in the dirt around your 
plant and they will slowly release water for your plants. 

Hooray! Perhaps I CAN keep my plants alive! 

When they've released their water, they shrink back down. 
The next time you water your plants, they fill back up 
and so the hydrating continues. 

After a few more questions, I discovered that I don't have to "make" these as Pinterest was showing. I can actually buy them from 
Dollar Tree at only $1 per pack. 

As soon as we returned from family camp, off to Dollar Tree I went. 
I bought some right away. The thought of keeping my kids happy while keeping my plants alive was more than I could handle. 

Here's how you make them:

Buy your packages at a local dollar store. Floral stores and craft stores have them as well, but you are going to spend way more money than you need to. The packages we bought at Dollar Tree look like this:

We bought four packs in pink, green, blue, and clear. 

The clear pack actually came with three different sets of 
color beads...not sure why that one had so many more. But the 
other packs had about 50 beads in it.

They come with a plastic flower vase 
(perfect for flowers that students bring to me at school).

Each package also comes with a smaller package of water beads.

We filled up a bowl of water and dumped them in.

Now remember, I am just doing these with my kids for now. But in a classroom, it would be great to turn it into a science investigation. 

Here is a cool link for making it 
Science Project  for your classroom.

Or what about using clear beads and coloring the water 
to see what happens?

The directions tell you to wait 6-8 hours. So if you're doing it in the classroom, start at the very beginning of the day so that they have time to grow as big as they can while you're in session. Or do them at the end of the day so that they grow overnight.

After dumping them in the bowl of water, we set the timer and waited!

Here's what they looked like after 30 minutes. 
Not that we were watching the whole time... (Wink!)

Eight hours later, here's how they turned out:

The pink ones really aren't my favorite. But the others are really cool in color!
All of them feel  A-MAZING!

Now, of course just putting your hands in the bowl or tub and playing with them is a lot of fun. But I found many other activities you can do 
with them too, all in a variety of subjects.

Here are 32 Ways to Play with Water Beads from The Chocolate Muffin Tree.

This next picture from The Imagination Tree, is what I am so doing with my ocean unit this upcoming year!

I also found some water bead math games!

Parenting Chaos shows how they can be put into shaving cream!
I found this picture and LOVE it! Click here to see that site.
The picture alone makes me want to dip my hands in!

Or what about putting them in snow this winter, or shaved ice?
Look what this mom did...
water beads in snow

And, as one friend suggested, use them for a foot spa!
Isn't it the same concept as this toy from ToysRUs?

Speaking of foot spa... 

I better get going and try that out. 
After all...


 ...I am the barefoot teacher

~Til next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment