July 17, 2012

Water Beads in the Play Pool

Sensory Summer Fun with Water Beads

We've been enjoying all of our favorite sensory materials in the play pool lately, so it seemed only natural to use water beads next.  Adding sensory materials to the play pool is a simple way to enjoy summer fun.  So far we have added colored ice, shaving cream, water balloons, paint, Oobleck and a bag of balls.  We've explored water beads in many ways, and one of our favorites is to close our eyes and feel them in a sensory bin full of water.  I knew the boys would be thrilled to sit in them and run their arms, legs, fingers and toes through the beads.  My plan was to fill the play pool with water beads and a few containers  and utensils for scooping and dumping, but J-Bug (3) had other plans.  He wanted "a lot a lot a lot" of water with the beads.  I actually think his idea was better!

After taking a few photos I got in the play pool with him.  Feeling the water beads brush by was a cool, relaxing sensation.

For fun I added some brand new water beads to the water full of already hydrated beads, so we could feel the different textures.

If you haven't yet played with water beads, they are hard and small out of the package.  After soaking in water for a few hours they become squishy, bouncy and larger in diameter.

Comparing the two was neat, and it naturally led to a wonderful conversation about textures, opposites, and similarities.  We enjoyed watching the fully hydrated beads moving faster through the play pool than the others.

J-Bug's favorite part was using the metal strainer to "catch" a bunch of water beads then pour them down the slide.  I love our pool!  We don't have a slide or jungle gym in our backyard, so when summer hits the boys are all about the pool slide. 

We brought these out several days in a row.  Even though water beads are inexpensive, I am cheap and strained them out of the pool each day when we were done playing.  If you aren't crazy like me and don't want the hassle of fishing each little bead out, water beads are non toxic and garden friendly and can be dumped right into your yard.

 For more ideas for summer fun follow my Fun in the Sun board on Pinterest.

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Click the images below for more ideas for sensory summer fun in the play pool:

Colored ice in the play pool Shaving cream in the play pool Water balloons in the play pool


  1. I really need to get some water beads. This looks like an awesome activity. :)

  2. What a great way to play with water beads! My kids will love this :)

  3. Neat! We have been having fun with water beads, and I would have never thought to bring them outside. Good to know they are safe for the garden. I hope you come by and share this tomorrow at The Outdoor Play Party.

  4. We haven't tried water beads yet. I think my son would love them.

  5. Same here haven't tried water beads yet but they seem to be the rave in blogland. Must try soon.

  6. Waterbeads are just irresistible, aren't they?

  7. Love the idea of the waterbeads down the slide. What fun!

  8. Fabulous post Allison! We love water beads in the pool too :)

  9. I can't believe we still haven't played with water beads yet. I really need to get on that. This looks like so much fun.

  10. This looks like so much fun! I love all the brightly colored water beads you have!
    Thanks for linking up at TGIF!
    Beth =-)

  11. That looks really fun! I will have to get some water beads. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

  12. Just thought I'd let you know I included a link to your water beads on my personal blog. Such a cute idea! Thanks for the post!

    Amy Senter


  13. So fun!!!!! You know, I found a stash of Water beads I forgot about in the cupboard. Where did you get the glowing ones from?

    1. Thank you! We made them glow. You can read how here: http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2012/02/glow-in-dark-water-beads.html


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