Young Scientists at Play: Polymer Play with Water Beads

Continuing our fun with polymers, I thought I would introduce the little ones to a very different type of polymer – the water bead.  These are basically polymers which when in their dried state will absorb copious amounts of water and swell from the size of a tiny bead to the size of a marble.  I ordered mine off Amazon for 99p.

As usual I organised a tray each for the girls, ensuring they could do everything independently.  I popped the desiccated water beads into a beaker and filled the conical flask full of water.  I had some more water on stand by just in case we needed it:

Ready for hydration
Ready for hydration

We needed to leave the balls over night, and when they came down the next morning they were enormous!  I let them play with them for as long as they wanted:

They filled containers
They filled containers
Sometimes one ball at a time
Sometimes one ball at a time
Poured them...
Poured them…
Sieved them...
Sieved them…
Spooning them...
Spooned them…
Shook them some more...
Shook them…
A4 even tried to syringe them!!
A4, after separating them into blues and greens, even tried to syringe them!!

After they were all played out we used them to create a pond sensory box for this week’s BFIAR book ‘Play with Me’:

Their sensory box
Their sensory box

Hours of fun had by all!


  1. It looks like you guys had great fun doing that. Can’t believe how big they got. Amazing.

  2. Thanks for introducing me to that particular product. I had never heard of it. Looks like the girls had a blast!

    Myra, from water-logged Winnipeg, Canada

  3. I hadn’t realised how inexpensive they were! I’m definitely going to get some. My kids would love these!

  4. Aren’t the water beads just great? I only knew about them a few weeks ago and I think they’re absolutely fun to play with.

      1. They do, but word of warning don’t leave them out and then let your husband pour it down the drain……. I was picking those out of our garbage disposal for a while trying to make sure it didn’t clog our pipes……..

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