Baby and Toddler Water Bead Sensory Box

I have a new Toddler (wait–I have a 13 month old who THINKS she is a big kid and can keep up with the actual big kids…a brandy new walker/stumbler who will always be my baby).  And when there is a Baby/Toddler in the house with bigger kids who paint, create, explore, and play, it can be difficult to keep the small pieces and parts away from exploring little hands.   We do a ton of sensory play in our house and always have a pack of water beads ready to go for a water bead sensory activity.  So the inquiring little baby-sized hands want to get in on the sensory fun.  We made this Water Bead Sensory Box that is perfect for Toddlers and Babies.

Safety Note : ALWAYS supervise your children (of all ages) with activities such as these.  While we have made our sensory box safe for kids, please use your judgement when playing with and exploring with your kids.  This blog and it’s authors are not responsible for injury or harm that may occur as a result of this or any activity/craft that is found on this site.
Water bead sensory box

Water Bead Play for Babies/Toddlers

We’ve made a baby-safe water bead sensory activity before, and this one is another to add to the sensory play.  (We’re including affiliate links in this post for items that you might need to make this activity.)

Water bead sensory box
We started with just a few materials to make our water bead sensory box.  Grab a plastic fruit container with a lid from the recycle bin.  We used a blueberry container, and any berry container would be perfectly sized for the sensory box.  The container should be on the thinner side and clear, with a lid.  You will need to enlarge water beads in water for 4-6 hours.  Once they have grown to full size, pour them into the plastic container.  Then, use super glue
around the edges of the plastic container. Press firmly and allow the glue to fully dry before using the sensory box. We added a layer of
hot glue
using a
hot glue gun
(LOVE my hot glue gun!) to the edges of the plastic lid opening. You will need to allow time for the hot glue to fully dry as well.

Water bead sensory box
Water bead sensory box
Once the glues have dried, you are ready to explore and play with the sensory box.  Play in a well lit area to explore the colors of the water beads.  This was such a fun way for the little one to explore a sensory material in a safe way.  As the box is tilted around and shaken, the beads move and create a great sound.  

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Water bead sensory box

To extend this activity out, add learning to the sensory box.  Add words like we did in our sight words sensory bottle to practice spelling and sight words.  Before gluing add foam pieces with numbers to create a math activity.  Add letters or small items to create an I-Spy toy.  

The water beads will stay hydrated for longer than they usually do when exposed to air.  Even though there are holes in the recycled berry container, the water beads do not shrink as quickly as they normally do.  Have fun!

What ways would you play with this sensory box?

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