I see activities using water beads every time I'm looking for ideas for the kids. So this is by far NOT my own original idea. Chances are if I've seen them you have too. But just in case you haven't, water beads are really fun to play with. They were designed with florists in mind, you hydrate these teeny tiny things and they turn into some squishy fun (or if you are a florist you put them in a vase with your flowers). I bought mine at Walmart in the florist section.
I empty two packages into a huge bowl of water and watched them grow.
This picture was taken after about 15 minutes.
The little beads suck in the water and turn into these strange little orbs, the little one is how it started. Andrew and I had fun playing with these as they grew on the counter. The package said 1-4 hours, but I took mine out after just the first hour.
When they are all finished growing, they feel round and smooth like a marble but squishy like a tapioca pearl.
The fact that Ethan stuck his hands in the bowl SHOCKED me. But they are pretty hard to resist.
We put ours in the fridge so they are cold too (I really put them in the fridge because I have this thing about mold, and I figured that would help).
Next time I'll put some bowls and spoons out to play with too. I wanted to make sure that both Hannah and Ethan understood that they were NOT food.
Notes: They do break if squeezed hard or stepped on and it is hard to clean up. Dumping them all over the garage is also not recommended. :D