Teaching Mama. The "water beads" are actually tapioca pearls. You buy them dry and then cook them like beans to get them to plump up (I added dye to the water while cooking). My toddlers are still in the tasting stage, so these pearls were perfect for them. We explored them on our sunny porch by adding them to a shallow plastic tub with some extra water. I'm glad we did it outside because the kids were very messy with them. Dragonfly's favorite thing to do with the pearls was to throw them around the yard. I have no faith that she wouldn't have thrown them around the house if I had chosen to keep the activity inside.
We started out playing with small animals in the "pond" and feeling the pearls with our hands. After a while, Skimmer was trying to climb in the bucket so I let them get naked and "swim" in them. When we were done playing with them, I dumped the pearls into yard. It made me smile this morning to see the little beads of blue in the grass.
The Toddlers are already asking to do this activity again, so I'd say it was a success. I think next time, I'll give Tadpole (7 months) some pearls to mash on his tray since they are quite soft. Thanks for the idea, Teaching Mama.