If the number of water bead images floating around on Pinterest is any indication, Lindsay Bluth Fünke got out of the bead business too soon. I was skeptical that water beads would be as entertaining as so many posts about sensory tables make them out to be, but given the low price point for 15,000 beads, decided to take the risk.
Just hydrating the beads thrilled my child. We added a teaspoon of beads to a bowl of water and he came back every few minutes to splash around and check on their progress. The phase where the beads look like bumpy little flowers, seemingly a source of stress and frustration for impatient reviewers, was particularly exciting for a two-year-old.
While waiting for the beads to finish soaking, we dusted off our rarely-used sous vide tub (oh how the mighty have fallen). Flipped over onto a few strings of lights, the tub became a toddler-sized light table.
We spent hours just putting the beads into various containers: juice glasses, cocktail glasses, and clear bowls of all shapes and sizes. Kiddo especially enjoyed the challenge of increasingly narrow containers, like this milk bottle (right) and champagne bottle (left).
While a teaspoon of the dehydrated beads looks small, they absorb an impressive amount of water, so a little really does go a long way. You can easily fill a large bowl with a few tablespoons of beads, or go really big and fill a kiddie pool.
Water beads are a great way to coax a reluctant kiddo into the bath, and the hour of fun in the tub justified the time spent cleaning up after. Pull out any broken pieces before you drain the tub and keep a colander nearby to help scoop up the beads. And, of course, to wear as a hat in the tub.
After all of this play, we still have nearly a full bag of beads, so we're off to experiment with salt water soaking.