Water Bead Science

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We just discovered water beads.  I know, I know, we are a little late to the party. These things are all over Pinterest and lots of terrific kid/play blogs all over the internet.  We finally found some and decided to figure out what makes these beautiful, squishy marbles tick. Water beads are tiny little things until you add water. Then they expand to the size of small marbles.

I made a Water Bead Science Observation worksheet, which you can download here (it’s free), and the Creek Kids and I began to explore, Why did the beads get big?  What happened to the water?  

Measuring the water beads after 2 hours: they grew from 1 1/4 tablespoons to more than 5 cups.

We measured the beads after soaking them in water for 2, 4 and 6 hours. They grew each time. Before measuring we made a hypothesis. How many cups of beads will there be now? We recorded that, then the actual number of cups.

We recorded other observations about them:  “They feel like gelatin.”  “They don’t pop. They break apart.”  “They seem bouncy. Will they bounce?” We tested that one out.  The answer is yes!

While my kids scooped and measured and played with the wet water beads, I wrote down their observations as they called them out. You can download this observation sheet by clicking on this photo.

Now that we’ve observed and learned about water beads, we are going to have some great sensory fun with them! Need some ideas? Check out the Teach Preschool website, where Deborah has linked up many fun ideas. And you don’t have to have preschoolers to try these out.  Also, look at these easy to make Water Bead Night Lights, using glow sticks and mason jars.

If you are not familiar with water beads, here’s some information about them. They are actually a floral supply item.  You can find them in craft stores or some big box stores for just a few dollars.
 When you put them into a bin, they take up very little space.
 When you first add the water, they look blurry and so pretty.
Doesn’t this look like fun?  If you try it, I’d love to hear about it. Send me a photo via email or facebook and I’ll post in on the Creekside Learning facebook page and Google+ page.  Check out what Susan at Learning All The Time and her girls did with this experiment.

Speaking of Google+, I’m having fun exploring over there. Are you on Google+? Let’s connect there. 

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Water beads should not be ingested. Please supervise children and pets closely when playing with water beads.