Another blogger I follow (Play Dr Mom) recently posted a round-up of water bead/gel ball ideas. We’ve played with gel beads before. In fact, our post was included in the round-up! You can read about our first experience with “slimy balls” (my toddler’s term, not mine!) here: An Introduction to Gel Balls and Water Beads.
Our toddler loves water beads. She likes to describe how they feel. (Today they felt “cold, wet, slimy, and blue.”) She likes to stir them with spoons, cups, and her hands. She breaks them apart. She smushes, pours, and dumps. It’s great fun!
But now we have a baby who wants to play, too. The baby is eight months old which means she chews and sucks on everything she manages to catch in her (slobbery) little hands.
Gel balls/water beads are non-toxic, but they’re not meant to be ingested. (In case you don’t believe me, read this story about giant water beads. Keep in mind that the giant beads are much, much larger than the marble-size ones we play with and recommend.)
Which got me thinking….water beads for babies? Could there be a safe way for babies to play?
I came up with three easy ideas; however, before I share, promise me you’ll remember that adult supervision is required. Got it? Okay, good.
Sensory Jars or Bottles
I upcycled an old sunflower seed container, but you could use a water bottle, spice jar, baby food container, or something similar.
- Add hydrated water beads.
- Securely reattach the lid.
- Pass it off to the baby.
- If I wasn’t going to dump the beads back into Big Sister’s bin when we finished, I may have added glitter, confetti, or other sparkly textures.
This made for a great rattle, since the bouncy beads ricocheted nicely around the jar.
For the mobile set, put the rolling jar just out of reach and watch the baby squirm, scoot, reach, or crawl to get this fun new toy.
Wiggle Those Toes!
This afternoon, we took the bin outside and let the little one kick, wiggle, and squish the water beads between her toes and under her feet. Since we were outside, I wasn’t worried if and when a ball or two managed to escape.
She was furious when I tried to take her away!
Last but not least…
The baby has played with sensory bags before, but never ones filled with water beads.
To make a sensory bag, just put the water beads and other sensory materials (for more ideas, check out this sensory bag post) into a zippered, plastic bag. I like to tape ours to the high chair tray so that the baby has something to enjoy while I’m working in the kitchen. This also keeps her from eating the plastic bag!
What do you think? Is your baby ready to play with water beads? For more baby play ideas, check out my “Baby Play” board on pinterest!