Children use their senses to understand things around them. They hear, move, see, smell, taste and touch. Engaging their senses helps in retaining the information they acquire. Therefore, kids must get opportunities to use their senses for brain development. Using senses builds nerve connections. They learn to complete complex tasks. Sensory plays help in language development, social interaction, cognitive growth, motor skills and problem-solving skills. You know about five senses including taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. There are other senses as well including body awareness and balance.
There are plenty of sensory play ideas. You can choose one depending on the age of your child. Some of the sensory plays are complex. Let’s keep it simple. In this article, you will learn how to play with water beads.
What Are Water Beads
Water beads are squishy and slippery. They are fun and also provide your child with an addictive sensory experience. Keep in mind that these beads are not toys. Before you learn how to use water beads as a sensory material, you can also include submersible LED lights in the play. Don’t use water beads while playing with babies or toddlers. You must supervise and take part in the play while your child is using water beads. Children must not swallow water beads. Water beads are made of non-toxic polymers. These polymers are super-absorbents. So, you don’t need to worry if your little girl touches her face after touching water beads. When exposed to water, their size is increased up to 200 to 400 times their original size. However, make sure that she does not swallow them.
You can visit a craft store to buy water beads. You can order water beads and submersible LED lights online as well. You can use both to create amazing bowls of lights.
Water beads are made by combining a water-absorbing polymer and water. A polymer is a long chain that consists of many tiny particles sticking together. You can find dry water beads. Pre-soaked water beads are also available. If you immerse dry water beads in water, they soak water and expand. Now, let’s play with your child.
Things you Need
You want your child to see beads expanding. Therefore, buy dry water beads online.
An acrylic tray is ideal for the play. You can use any container of the right size. It must be transparent. The container must not have sharp edges.
Use clean water.
Submersible LED Lights
You can buy submersible fairy lights online.
Water beads and submersible LED lights are available in many colors. Your child will love mixing different colors.
Take a small container and ask your child to add colorful water beads in that container.
Let your child add water to that container.
Your child may be excited to see them expanding. However, the magic does not happen immediately. This play teaches your kid the value of patience. It is still fascinating to watch beads absorbing water slowly.
Add submersible LED lights to the container.
Ask your child to mix up different colors. She will be amazed seeing them growing and expanding slowly. Keep in mind that you need to set aside a couple of hours for this sensory play. Water beads really look beautiful in the container when the light from submersible LED lights shine through them. You can use a light table if you don’t have submersible fairy lights. If you don’t have a light table as well then you can do this little experiment in a well-lit room or on a sunny day.
Water Beads and Child Safety
Water beads are made using non-toxic, biodegradable materials. They are perfectly safe to touch and play with. However, they should not be swallowed. Do this experiment with kids who don’t put things in mouth. You must know when to introduce your child to small objects.
When not used, you can keep water beads for years. However, once you have used them, they attract dust. When you see black spots on them, get rid of them. Don’t let your child touch them if you notice any sign of mold. They are not safe for your child anymore.