I feel like I have come full circle with this activity.

Water beads were originally manufactured for florists to be used with flowers. Since then though, parents have been putting them to all kinds of creative uses. Water beads can be lots of fun on light tables, with shaving cream, and in science experiments, to name just a few examples. We decided to go back to basics the other day though and to have fun with water beads and flowers in a sensory tub.

If you are unfamiliar with water beads as a children’s sensory toy you are in for a treat! You can buy them either already filled with water or in their dehydrated, seed-like form. We like to start with the tiny seeds because it’s fun to see them grow. It takes a few hours for them to expand to their full size.

Once they’re filled with water, my kids favorite thing to do is to drop them into a container of water where they seem to disappear. It’s fun to “magically” pull them up into sight again with your hands.

Water beads feel nice and squishy in your fingers, and (I think) under your toes as well. (Although, for some reason, my girls were a little disturbed by the feeling under their feet. They only kept their feet in the tub long enough for me to snap a picture. Oh well.)

They DID really enjoy scooping the beads and water into cups and pouring them into containers. I threw in some wildflowers that I had gathered on a walk, and we called it soup.

A big metal ladle from the kitchen, can turn just about anything in a container of water into a fun “play soup”. Try it sometime with plastic animals, legos, or just sticks and leaves from around the yard.

For more fun activities with water, dive into some of these great posts from some other Quirky Mommas: