I honestly do not understand why kids are so fascinated with water beads. Orbeez are a huge craze amongst kids, though not as much as it used to be. But I was willing to try these out and see for myself what they are and how they are used. I ordered one container to see what they do.
I was honestly shocked at how small the container was. And I was even more surprised by the size of the water beads. They are about the size of the little round sprinkles you use in baking. They are all brightly colored, with 12 different colors contained in the package that is small enough to fit easily in your hand. If you have younger children, I recommend that you keep the container out of sight and out of reach. They really do look a lot like a tasty treat.
These are biodegradable, so you don't have to worry about them damaging the environment or causing long term damage. They are supposed to be non-toxic, but I am sure your kids and pets would not benefit from consuming them, so keep a watch on both. I was amused to read they are also non-flammable. I would never have thought to try to set them on fire, nor do I know of any use that I would have for them that might lead to potential fire, so it made me smile
I had my 11 year old bring me a small glass half filled with water. We dumped a small amount in and then set it aside to let them grow. The back of the container says it takes about 6 hours for them to grow to full size. But ours grew much faster than that. I would say it was half the time when we realized they were done growing. Of course, my son decided to dump some more in the glass because there was still water, so we set it back on the counter in the kitchen to let the new water beads grow, too. By the time my husband came in from work, they were spilling out of the glass on to the counter, so he put them in a larger tupperware dish. Apparently, my older son came and dumped more beads in and added a little more water. By morning, the dish was nearly full and I took the container and hid it.
Every time one of the kids walked past the container they stuck their hand in it and let them slide through their fingers. I asked what you do with them now that they are done growing and the response was - enjoy them! They said you get satisfaction from just touching them. I figured there had to be more to it than that, so decided to do some research.
There are actually many ways you can use these. We created stress balls using them by putting them inside balloons and tieing them off. Just be careful when squeezing or messing with the stress ball because if it pops, it is a mess. Trust me. We know from experience. My 11 year old was sitting on the couch with two of them and creating stress balloon animals. Needless to say, he had quite the mess to clean up when they both burst. But it was actually a pretty cool feeling to use them as a stress ball.
I took some of the water beads and put them in a vase I had. I can imagine how pretty it would be to create centerpieces or floral arrangements with these in the bottom. You can purchase them in solid colors, too, so it would work great for weddings. I couldn't find my artificial flowers to add to my vase, so didn't take a picture of that one.
And you can use these for sensory play. Younger children learn by touching and manipulating things. These are a great addition to their exploration and learning experiences.
There were other ways to use them, too, but I won't list all of them here. Suffice it to say, these are actually pretty cool. I didn't understand at first, but I can see now all the ways to use them beyond just touching them and enjoying the sensory response.
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