Investigating with Waterbeads

Hello Rainy Day Mum readers, I’m so excited to be sharing our playtime here today. Cerys and I both have boys the same age and we’ve both noticed how they are just becoming interested in science-type investigations. I’ll admit, this has always been my weak spot up until now. But I believe that you become the kind of parent your child needs – and if that means raiding my kitchen to explore baking soda and vinegar reactions, putting a bag of flour and a jug of water in my curious 2.5yo hands or mixing up six different colours of water to explore absorption so be it! Toddler Science Experiments
Vin was introduced to the concept of absorption when we first discovered our waterbeads – I explained that as the tiny beads grew they were absorbing the water – but of course they take six hours to grow to full size, by which time my kiddo was bored of hearing me go on about the wonders of science (Cerys actually did a great post here about observing the changes using a kitchen timer) and wanted to stick his hands in and chuck them all about! preschool investigation
I decided to take a different approach and set out a bunch of things to test absorption – kitchen towel, sponges, cotton wool balls, some hydrated waterbeads (about a week old and beginning to shrink), unhydrated waterbeads and some Fake Snow (the polymer stuffing from a disposable nappy/diaper). Vin also wanted to test some milk bottle tops – I think it’s important to let kids test theories like this, even if us adults know they won’t work! Playful Science Experiments
I coloured some water with food colouring so we could actually see the absorption process working – and we set off to test some theories Toddler Absorption Experiments
I strongly believe in child-led play and exploration – I think it is even more important when ‘investigating’ with kiddos. Everytime they ask ‘why’ I reply ‘what do you think?’ With older kids ask open-ended questions, let your own curiosity take over and don’t be afraid to get things ‘wrong’! Waterbead Science
We’ve been looking at colour mixing during painting this week – so pouring the different coloured waters was a great way to reinforce this learning. Exploring Absorption with Waterbeads

Adding the food colouring was a worthwhile step since it made the experiment so visual for the kids – we made purple snow and orange cotton wool… Toddler Investigations with Waterbeads
and as with all toddler experiments eventually everything ended up in one tub, mushed and mixed together in that lovely shade of ‘preschool purple’ (the muddy brown colour left at the end of toddler painting sessions) Playing with Waterbeads
Hope you enjoyed our playtime! How do you explore and investigate with your kids?

Charlotte is a twenty-something mum to Little Vin, early years childminder, playdough maker and believer in the power of playdates. Check out the fun over at Make, Do & Friend, on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest

Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.


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