It's water fun this week at The Educators' Spin On It with both After School Express and Tot School. We decided it would be a great opportunity to explore water beads. I'll admit I've seen them all over on parenting blogs but had not taken the plunge to purchase. However when I visited Joann's the other day they were $1 for a bag. I couldn't resist. So that very same afternoon when we got home from school it was PLAYTIME!
We began by reading the instructions on the bag. Our package made one gallon of water beads using 2 liters of water. We had a little math fun with learning how many quarts are in a liter and how many liters are in a gallon... do you know the answer?
When she poured the tiny little beads into the water we discussed what we thought would happen. My daughter had no idea since she's never seen them before. It takes 4 to 6 hours for the beads to absorb all of the water. I can't tell you how much fun we had all afternoon. We made a plan to observe the beads every hour. It got a little confusing because every time we went to just observe we ended up playing with them for at least 20 minutes, all three of us had so much fun. We discussed absorbtion and even a little bit about how rain clouds are formed with evaportions from the earth. I highly recommend doing this for an afternoon of complete FUN!
I think it's really important to point out that we should all try to engage our children's sensory skills after school. There are lots of ways to do with through playdough, finger paint, sand play, beading, water play, coloring, cooking, music and many more things. It gives their body time to reconnect with itself after a busy day at school and build new connections.
The very next day my daughter was so excited to come home from school and begin her water bead play. She played and played that afternoon. Even though she's in school it's really important for all children to have time to play with their imaginations after school. During the whole week she was playing various things with the water beads. At one time she grabbed the bath toys and created an ocean. Then she had them searching for treasures and coming together for lunch. Another day she created volcanic islands to recreate Bora Bora and Tahiti with cups and beads pouring over them. That day we also baked Tahitian Coconut Bread and learned more about the islands of French Polynesia. The last day new Lala Loopsy doll came out to join the fun in the ocean, that ended with a bubble bath for her. You can see we were able to use our imagination quite a lot with the Water Beads and toys. Down time after school is an important part of our After School Express too.
She poured and explored with the beads with her little sister too. One fun thing she noticed on her own was the the water beads automatically started to line up with each other. Time and again as she emptied and filled the container it happened and she asked why. We had a good discussion about why we thought it happened. The next day we also talked about how this was almost like watching really big cells join together like they do in living organisms. We just looked online at a picture of cells to see what Mommy was talking about. It's these little conversations that start now After School that can lead to a strong comprehension level of science and math. Yes I know it's totally pretend but it doesn't hurt to get their minds thinking about it.
There are all sorts of ideas for using water beads with your children. Here are our favorites...
Water Bead Science from Nurture Store
Water Bead Math on Kids Activities Blog
Printable Water Bead Activity from Creekside Learning
Melissa at The Chocolate Muffin Tree collected 32 Ways to Play with Water Beads
Water Bead Party on Fit Kids Clubhouse
The Wonders of Water Beads on Train Up a Child
Thanks for sharing your afterschool week with us. Can't wait to see what you've been up to. Hope many of you had a great first week back to school. I think our third week hit us the hardest with getting back into the routine of things and why we spent a lot of time playing with water beads, she just needed to be just a 6 year old kid after spending all day at school in a desk.
We would love to have you link up your School-Age Posts about your learning week including, crafts, activities, playtime and adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives After School! When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our afterschool button to link on your site!!! By linking up you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board or feature on our afterschool party next week!
Want to join our Water Bead Fun? You can find Water Beads, Lalaloopsy Sew Magical Mermaid Doll and Munchkin Bath Toys on our Amazon Affiliates.