Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Water Beads

Have you heard about the new craze in kids sensory toys?  They are water beads!

 I heard about them various places, but mostly at play at home mom.  I found a dealer that ships for free to Canada (yay!) as long as you buy less than $20.  So I bought a bunch, and they arrived last night.

I wasn't really sure what to expect, so I thought I would blog a little about our experience so far. Here are the water beads in their dry state. They come in small 10 gram bags. I got 10 bags for $15, there are 15 colours available from the dealer above.  The ones I have used so far are their rainbow bags.

You add the beads to 5 cups tap water and wait 6 hours.  They grow to be about 20mm in size, although there was a lot of variance in the sizes in my batch.  After 6 hours you drain the water and you're left with the water beads.

They are transparent and coloured and bouncy and squishy and pretty awesome.  That's my expert discription and opinon.  When I showed them to my husband even he was impressed. I love how they sort of "glow".  They feel really cool when you touch them.

The small 10g bag made over 4 cups of waterbeads.  They are moist to touch, but don't leave your hands too wet.  They are non-toxic and don't leave any residue on your hands either.  They are small, so some would consider them a hazard to babies, but I don't think they are hard enough to cause any real choking hazard.  They are also super slippery, so I'm sure they would just slide right down if swallowed. 

The manufacturer indicates that if one is swallowed it will be passed easily and with no ill effects.  They don't recommend them for consumption of course, and recommend getting medical assistance if a large quantity is ingested.  The only real warning is that they should not go down the drain. I will also mention that the manufacturer also says they are not a toy.  Please note that Sylvie was very carefully supervised while playing.

Interesting fact... sitting in waterbeads does not make your clothes wet!

Sylvie had such a great time playing with these and cried a little when we put them away.  She is going through a lot of developmental changes right now (SO close to crawling) and that has been making her pretty crabby.  She had a great time touching and playing and pouring the water beads.

She practiced picking them up and holding them (see that loose one on the carpet in front of her hand, she managed to pick it up! what a great way to learn those fine motor skills!)

I couldn't get any photos of her looking at the camera.  She was way too busy!  We did a few things with her today - let her put her hands in the whole container, poured the beads around her (while she was in the green bin, shown above), poured the beads on the tray.

Another note: Waterbeads will squish and break if sat
on, knelt on, etc.  I kept a small container nearby
and took away broken water beads immediately
She helped dump out the container and watched while we put them away later.  She just loved playing with these.

One more note: We have lots of pets and I was worried
 the water beads would get all gunky.  They seemed to resist
picking up animal hair fairly well, but I think I will still plan on rinsing
 them everytime we have a major play session.  Just to keep them fresh!

I was surprised that she didn't really try to put them in her mouth.  She usually puts everything in her mouth, but for whatever reason, these kept her hands busy and out of her mouth.  We still watched her very closely and I would never let her play with these unless we were right there with her.

If you're a bit worried, there are a few ideas I think you could use to keep the beads out of a babies mouth. 

I put some in a strawberry type container, she can shake this and look at it without actually having access to the beads.  They would also feel neat tucked into and empty, knotted balloon.

Play at Home Mom has lots of other excellent ideas on how to use these and I can tell you, we are hooked!  Alain even said "We should buy more of these" (then I admitted that I already had 10 packs, not just the one pack we were playing with... haha). He seems pretty excited to figure out new ways to play with them with Sylvie.  He's a science guy and these definitely made him happy.


  1. I have been a early childhood teacher for years and we use these:
    They do not take 6 hours, only minutes, but they may be more destructible than the ones you ordered. They are more of a hard ball of jelly when full. Like a bouncy ball they can be torn apart to some degree, but also non toxic. I am interested to try the ones you have to see if they are the same.
    You might want to try instasnow on this site too, pretty awesome.

  2. Wow, those really do glow! And I love the photo of cute chubby baby hands exploring the beads.

    I tried Jello with mine, and she had fun squishing it around. Just makes a MESS, and the whole kitchen/fridge smelled like grape jello. Sounds like these are a rather clean alternative.

  3. Hi I'm a Canadian company that sells water beads online, our price for a 10g pack is $1.99 "FREE" shipping within Canada and USA. Lots of colours and sizes.

  4. Hi Melissa,

    I have discovered your site through Google search and I was really glad to find out that your daughter Sylvie had fun playing with crystal water beads and that you find it very useful for your kid’s sensory development.

    My name is Toby and I am the owner of, an online store which sells different kinds and sizes of water beads. I am contacting you as I would like to inquire if you are interested in featuring articles from our blog, about different fun activities where you can use crystal water beads, on your site. Here are some of those articles:

    We can also send you a brand new article that you can publish as a guest post to your site.

    In return, we can give you discount voucher which you can use to shop for more crystal waterbeads for Sylvie.

    Thanks for your time and hope to hear from you.

    (641) 919 8066