Water beads lend themselves to that zen sensory play that keeps kids entertained and creative. This craft had my kids concentrating quietly as they learned about the rainbow of colors while practicing their pincer grip for some fine motor fun.
Create a beautiful recycled relaxation bottle with water beads for a craft that's packed with learning.
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Here's what you'll need:
Tub for the water beads
Recycled clear containers
Get your water beads ready in a super science experiment you can view HERE. As a reminder, always use supervision when playing with water beads as they are a choking hazard. Safety is the number one priority!
Make your Rainbow Water Bead Craft Bottles:
Create a plan: will you go in rainbow order or reverse rainbow order?
Sort out the water beads in the color you need and place them into the bottle
How many of each bead will you need to get the effect you want? Try to use an equal number of beads of each color.
Fill till you complete your rainbow and reach the top.
Add water if you'd like to make the beads indistinguishable from one another.
Seal the top and use as decoration or as a calm down bottle.
Organic learning opportunities for your rainbow water beads craft:
Learning Colors with Water Beads:
Little Sis is still learning colors at just around 2 years old. As your child names and sorts each color they're building oral language skills as well as the beginning math skill of categorizing!
Big Sis knows her colors, but she is, like many 4 year olds, obsessed with rainbows. This was a great opportunity to teach her about ROYGBIV, red-orange-yellow-blue-indigo-violet, the order of rainbow colors.
We wrote down all the colors in the correct order, placing one of each color next to the word in case she couldn't read it on her own.
Water Bead Math + Craft:
As I mentioned, sorting and categorizing colors is a beginning math skill, but there is a lot more math hiding in this project.
When you look at your craft bottle, in order to create the rainbow effect, you're going to have to put in even layers of each color.
Big Sis took on this problem to solve, by deciding that there should be about two layers of each color so that we could see each color clearly and it wouldn't mix up with the ones above and below.
For older children, they could measure their bottles and then divide by the number of colors then mark the bottles - a simple, hands-on way to introduce fractions or explain division.
Another way to ensure equal layers would be to count the balls in each layer and make sure to include the same number each time.
So many math concepts!
Environmental Science + craft:
My husband laughs at how I hoard clear glass and plastic containers.
The reason is twofold. Firstly, I'm a crafter by nature. I can see the potential for creativity in almost anything, but secondly, I'm really working on lowering the amount of waste I make.
I have an incredible Zero-waste friend who has inspired me to reduce my carbon footprint by becoming more mindful about the trash my family and I create. I hope that as I change my habits that things like reusing objects instead of throwing them away, recycling, and composting become more natural to my kids, enough for them to become lifelong habits.
Anyway, the girls selected these from my "don't throw away" collection which brought up the topic of why I have that collection.
Even Lil Sis isn't too little for some earth friendly projects. We talked about how those items could be recycled but it would take a lot of energy and time to be converted but that if we used them the way they are, they would be turned into something beautiful that's also useful.
Another important environmental discussion was about how we use the water beads to make our craft safely!
The number one rule is that water beads stay in the tub and don't get thrown around the yard, but that if that happens, we sweep them up so that animals don't eat them and get sick. Keeping our earth healthy is our job!
Calming Craft- Social Emotional Awareness
During the crafting I asked the girls how they felt and they said calm. We tried to pinpoint what about the craft made them feel calm. Was it the water beads? Was it working with their hands? Was it the soothing colors or the diligent sorting and productive plunking of the beads into the bottle?
Big Sis was able to really articulate that she felt calm when she was working quietly with water beads. It also soothed her that we were sitting outside.
It's valuable information, because, I'll be honest after 4 months in quarantine, there are days when our house is anything BUT calm. So we discussed further..."Thank you for telling me how it makes you calm to create quietly. Do you think the next time you're feeling overwhelmed you might like to do another quiet project like this? Or maybe we could try a change of scenery since you like going outside?"
She said yes and then asked if we could add those strategies to her Calm Map.
The Calm Map is an activity I created in The Fun Club as part of our social-emotional curriculum. It's a literal map for the kids to refer to when they're feeling big feelings and want to calm down. Ours is displayed on the wall, and we added these ideas to it.
Want to know more about The Fun Club? Each week we do 5 hands-on simple but fun activities: 2 math, 2 literacy, and 1 social and emotional learning. Learn more by visiting www.forwardwithfun.com/the-fun-club.
I hope you enjoy this water beads craft as much as we did!