Another day of under the idea themed activities!
Firstly, a sensory play activity.
I cracked open the blue water beads that I’d bought before Christmas and had left them soaking overnight. I put these in the tub we use for sensory play, and added in some blue glass beads, sea shells and some seaside ornaments. Obviously, these are all choking hazards so please make sure the activity is supervised! I also popped in their sea creature toys – penguins, whales, seals and sea turtle. It looked great!
As soon as I put it down the kids were straight in there, making the animals ‘swim’ through the beads, and scooping up the beads with the shells and tipping them back in.
I’d laminated some colourful pictures for using with play dough but we ended up getting them out for the tub. I printed these out from here.
After a bit they took all the bits out, just leaving the water bead in! They took their socks off and in went their feet! They love putting their feet in water beads as it feels cold and squishy!
Our second activity was bottle cap pictures. I’ve been collecting then lids from cartons of milk for a while. The idea came from here.. Last night I used the glue gun to stick the lids down on some blue A4 card. These made the bodies of the fish.
I then gave Harrison a pot of pre cut triangles to form the fishes tails. We then glued on googly eyes. We did stick them with the glue stick but they kept falling off so I used the glue gun (my favourite thing ever!).
We used glitter glue to decorate the lids and the tails.
Then came our favourite bit. We dipped the end of a plastic straw in some white paint and over another tray BLEW through the straw. You need to do this as otherwise it leaves a big splodge rather than a white circle. Also, make sure you supervise little ones to make sure they’re not sucking the paint up. Dab the straw onto the paper to make bubbles.
At this point Harrison wandered off so I finished it by cutting some seaweed out of green paper and Alex helped to stick them down.
What do you think?
For ages I’ve been searching for water beads. I know I could probably get them on the Internet but I never got round to it. On Saturday night I went to the German Christmas market in Birmingham City Centre. In the middle of the market I found a little stall that sold fake snow (which of course I bought!) and water beads in all sorts of colours. They were £2 a pack or three for £5, so I bought three packs – a blue one (for our ocean theme after Christmas!) red and green.
Water beads are gorgeous. They’re usually used in flower arranging as a way of making the displays look amazing. They come in packets and are tiny little beads that don’t look much at all.
You put them in a container and add water (follow instructions on pack) and leave for five to six hours. We left ours overnight. They absorb incredible amounts of water and once fully hydrated they turn into beautiful plump, translucent coloured beads. They’re lovely to look at but the texture is something else! They’re squishy but firm, cool, slippery and slimy (in a lovely way!) – absolutely perfect for sensory play. I guarantee every adult that sees them will want to touch and feel them. We have ours in a tub in the kitchen and every time I walk past I find my hands in there!
We mixed the red and green ones together to make it festive. As soon as I put the tub down the kids were straight in there. They loved it!
Harrison then decided he wanted to take his socks off and put his feet in. He persuaded me to put my foot in and it was a lovely sensation!
He then pulled out an egg box from our ‘junk cupboard’ and started to arrange the beads in it. This was a great numeracy opportunity – counting the beads – and sorting and discussing colours.
We had a good hour of fun with these. They did roll around the floor a bit and some did get squashed (just vacuumed them up). The beads can be used over and over again. According to the packet, we should be able to rehydrate them up to 120 times. Not bad for a couple of quid! Once they start looking a little dehydrated you simply put them back in water and they plump back up.
What I will say is keep a close eye on kids/pets whilst they’re playing with them (as you should with all sensory play) as although they are non-toxic and environmentally safe, they’re not designed for children, and certainly not meant to be ingested, so please please please supervise carefully. If they’re likely to try and eat them put them in a zip lock bag and they can still have fun squishing them, or put them in a sensory bottle.
If you had a mirror or a light table this would make a lovely surface to play on as the effects would be magical and add another dimension to sensory play.