What is sensory play?
Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child's senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing. Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. The sensory activities allow children to refine their thresholds for different sensory information helping their brain to create stronger connections to process and respond to sensory information.
For example, a child who is particularly fussy with eating foods with a wet texture such as spaghetti, the use of sensory play can assist the child in touching, smelling and playing with the texture in an environment with little expectation. As the child develops trust and understanding of this texture it helps build positive pathways in the brain to say it is safe to engage with this food. Sensory play literally helps shape what children to believe to be positive and safe in the brain. Ultimately, shaping the choices children make and impacting behaviour.
What are water beads?
Water beads are actually designed to be used for floral arrangements. On top of giving an additional decorative element to a vase of flowers, they also control water absorption. Although water beads are non-toxic and environmentally safe, they can be a choking hazard for younger kids or children who still mouth items.
What Do Water Beads Feel Like?
When expanded, water beads are slippery squishy marbles. When dropped back into a bucket or on the floor they bounce! Water beads are extremely calming to run your fingers through, it’s like adding a texture to water. Water beads will not dissolve in water and are not sticky (unless you try the edible water beads – those do get sticky as they dry).
How to set up?
It takes up to 8 hours for water beads to grow to its full size. Create an opportunity for your child to put some water beads into a clear container. From time to time check on the beads and you will be able to witness the slight expansion of the water beads. You would need a big tub to contain the beads with water. To increase more child-directed activities and involvement of water bead play, we included toy boat, a toy truck (which the children love) and plenty water play tools for more fun interactions!
When you are done playing with water beads and aren’t going to store them, you may crumble them up and add them to the soil of potted plants. The polymer that is used in water beads is also used in a lot of bagged potting soil. You can also throw them into a garbage bag. Do not throw water beads down a drain! – they will very quickly clog any pipes.
HAVE FUN! :)