Though we don't often play with water beads over here, they are a super interesting sensory experience and they make for a beautiful sensory bin. When I saw giant water beads mentioned by Play at Home Mom a few months ago, I knew we'd have to try them at some point. One of my favorite Halloween memories as a kid was poking at those peeled grape "eyeballs" (you know the ones?) at a party. I am not patient enough to sit and peel grapes to make eyeballs (hahaha), so this is my approximation of that fun activity!
So first before we start, let me say a few things about safety. Water beads are made from the same stuff that fills disposable diapers. You wouldn't let your kid eat or even lick the inside filling of a diaper, right? Right! So please - if you have a baby or toddler - this activity is not a great one - but not to worry - you can find the directions for our Edible Eyeball Sensory Bin here! Because these giant water beads start very small (around the size of an M&M), but grow HUGE - they can be dangerous if eaten. Our pack had 11 beads so I compulsively counted several times to make sure they were all there. If you have little ones or pets, please make sure that you are keeping track of the number so that they are all always accounted for. Thank you! :)
This is what a bowl of 11 giant eyeballs looks like.
S was SO excited. She loved holding the slippery wiggly eyeballs.
I asked her how she wanted to play with them and she opted to put them in a glass pan and roll them around for a bit. They bounce when they knock into each other and are just generally very silly looking!
Next she wanted to try bouncing them. They totally bounce! It was crazy to watch them go.
After that she decided she wanted to pick off most of the pupils and add some snake friends. :)
While we were playing, we also figured out that we could do this. SO. STINKING. COOL.
Finally, because (my) children have a penchant for destruction, I let her pick one eyeball (and added a water bead that had partially burst when we hydrated the pack) to SQQQQUIIIISSSSHHH. And a heads up if you've never squished water beads before - squished water beads are super fun, but also very messy. :)
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Now let's talk about how to make your own giant eyeballs! Hahaha.
First you will need a pack of giant waterbeads. We got ours at Michaels in the floral section; there are also some listings on Amazon like this one here. We like to buy clear beads and color them ourselves. It's REALLY easy. You just add color to the water you're hydrating them in. That's it! I used lime liquid watercolors to get this fabulous green. You could also use food coloring.
You will need to be SUPER patient with these giant waterbeads once you've added them to the water to hydrate. It takes 3-4 DAYS before they're fully hydrated. Once they are, you can add pupils! I cut a black foam sheet into circles to make our pupils (no need to add anything - the foam just sticks to the waterbead all by itself). I suspect that black cellophane would look even cooler, but I didn't want to buy a roll for just one activity. Either way the pupils are not permanent - they do move around and you can knock or pick them off. But that was part of the fun for S. And if you had them as a Halloween decoration - say a vase full of them or something along those lines - they would stay put pretty well.
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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children. As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family. I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.