Fun with Florists Water Beads
So, I decided that as it's half term and we're home for the whole week and E is only in nursery for one morning, I would try and do something new with her every day. In addition, I will blog about it every day, hopefully I'll inspire some others along the way!
Today we explored the possibilities of florists water beads. I bought these just because I liked the colours, they were described as non-toxic and delivery was free, but there are loads of others available. I got 5 sachets for £2.50 and used two of them for playing today. They need to be soaked in advanced and rinsed before use.
I wouldn't advise leaving kids unattended with these! Potential choking hazard - that said, E didn't seem too bothered about eating them, which is unusual for her.
I let E roll a few beads around the table while she and daddy waited for breakfast. To start with she struggled to pick them up because they're quite slimy, but with practice she was able to grab them and squeeze them. Good for the fine motor skills; fist grip, the four finger grip and pincer grip! They bounce ever so well, so she enjoyed bouncing them off the table screaming something that resembled "bouncy" while she did. They ended up on the floor, but we just collected those up and rinsed them before putting them in the water table to play with later. Popping some in a silicone ice cube tray was fun, briefly until she tipped them ALL on the floor!
This week I bought a sand and water table from Tesco as it was on offer for £10. It's quite dinky but absolutely fine for some outdoor messy play and our moderately sized garden. It comes with a scoop and a rake and was just what I was looking for.
When it warmed up, we went out to play in the garden and I just poured all the beads into the tray. E enjoyed scooping and raking the beads, pouring them back out of the scoop and watching them fall, moving them between the two sections, and giggling when they fell onto the gravel or bounced away. Scooping develops muscles and hand eye coordination. She picked up beads that she'd dropped on the ground, and after a good 20 minutes of exploring, just stuck her hands in and enjoyed the feel of the beads. They really do feel lovely. Silky, slimy, wet, squidgey and cool! When she finished playing, I put a little extra water in with the beads and put the lid on the table. When I checked them this evening they were still as slimy and plump as they were before lunch. The benefits of mixed colours for older children would allow them to sort too. I'll edit this post to let you know when they come to their end!
And when she came in for lunch, she wasn't grubby or damp, but we did wash her hands before she ate.
Fair to say, this was great success for my 14 month old! It's sensory and messy, without really making too much mess and easy to prepare and pack away for. Obviously the downside is that it has to be planned for, to some extent, as the beads take time to soak (although I didn't leave them the 24 hours it advised...). However, it made this toddler smile and giggle, got her outside for that Vitamin A fix and kept her entertained for two good amounts of time this morning. That's a hit in my book!