Water Beads and Ice Activities

BY ON Mar 13, 2014
Water Bead Activities

Water Beads and Ice is an open-ended and hands-on sensory play opportunity.  They are so much fun as they are about the size of a small marble and have a small bounce to them if they are dropped on the floor.  They are soft, squishy and smooth to touch, not slimy at all.


Water beads promote learning and development in areas such as fine motor, coordination, exploration, colours, sensory, and creativity.  Water beads also introduce children to scientific and mathematical concepts such as absorption.  It also promotes scientific thinking skills such as predicting, observations, reasoning and so much more!


[h2 style1]What you will need?[/h2 style1]

What are water beads


For this play opportunity I set up a small tub filled with ice cubes and water beads.  I was lucky enough to purchase our water beads cheaply at our local craft store but I have also seen them sold on E-bay and in florists.  When purchasing water beads they come in very tiny ball shapes and are hard.  Once you add them to water they become soft, squishy and increase in size.

I later added scoops (measuring cups) to the tub. I originally did not introduce the scoops until a little later as I wanted to my kids to explore first with their hands without any props.  When they were commenting that it was so cold and were starting to rub their hands together, that’s when I introduced the scoops.  This took the play journey to another level and also relief for their hands from the cold ice.


[h2 border style2]Let’s Play [/h2 border style2]

let's play - water beads and ice


My children spent long periods of time using their hands to search for the beads in the water and ice.  They would gather them up with the ice and tried to melt the ice by rubbing it in their hands.  As the ice melted, there was more water to play with and different size and shape ice cubes.  They loved to collect them up and sort them into colours,  scoop them, pour them, feel them, and gather them in cups.


[h2 border style3]Let’s Learn [/h2 border style3]

Let's learn- water beads and ice


[h2 style1] Learning Opportunities[/h2 style1]

  • Creativity
  • Fine Motor Development
  • Hand-Eye Coordination and Control
  • Cause and Effect
  • Concentration
  • Spatial awareness – experimenting with shape and space
  • Language development – shape names
  • Mathematics – capacity, measurement
  • Scientific concepts and skills


[h2 border style2] Find more activities & other ideas : [/h2 border style2]

Ice Boats

Orange Water Beads


*Please note that even though water beads are non-toxic, they should not be consumed.  As with all activities, children must be supervised at all times. Read more*

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5 responses to “Water Beads and Ice Activities”

  1. Debra says:

    This will be a great activity for my 2yo, as she’s constantly wanting to play with ice cubes. Did you put the water beads in the tub in their natural state, or did you soak them in water first?

    • Janice says:

      Hi Debra, we soaked our water beads first but I think it would be more fun to place the beads into the tub with the ice in their natural state. As the ice melts the waters beads will expand. Have fun!

  2. Fam says:

    where can i find water beads to buy? it looks very interesting for my kids and a lot of fun


    • janice Janice Davis says:

      Hi Fam, I buy my water beads from a local craft store. I am lucky enough that they are available here because generally they can be purchased in a florist or online from ebay.

  3. Gem says:

    Hi are the water beads wet or cold?



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