Recommendation: Water Beads!
Sometimes, being a preschool teacher, I can take for granted small (but impactful!) things that are normal in my life but not in everyone’s. Take, for instance, WATER BEADS! I love water beads as a sensory exploration tool and will often assume that other parents know what I’m talking about when I sing their praises - only to be met with blank stares. So, just in case you have not yet experienced the magic of these little beads, let me take a quick moment to introduce you to them.
Water beads were originally designed to hydrate plants, but can thankfully be used as a squishy, slippery, suprisingly fun sensory experience. They are NOT EDIBLE, so please be clear on this point when introducing to your kiddo.
The beads often come dried and in the thousands! You only need a few (say around 1/4 cup) to start. Pour the beads in a large tupperware, bowl or other bin, cover with water and, well, wait. The process can take as long as you want, from around 30 minutes to overnight. The longer they soak, the bigger the beads become. If you want them bigger, add more water!
That‘s all! The beads will look like the above, and I swear, they feel amazing. Cool to the touch, a bit wet, bouncy, squishy, and utterly addictive. Kids and adults alike will often play water beads for a loooong time!
My favorite way to present water beads are with simple scoopers and small cups, but you can go wild with little figurines, toy cars and trains, water balloons, and more! As always, simply using your hands can be more than enough!