We encountered water beads at the frog-themed session at our local home ed meet up a couple of weeks ago.
The girls enjoyed them so I thought I would look into getting some for us to try out at home.
I decided to get tapioca pearls instead in the end as these are edible, just in case the girls decided to give them a taste! It also gave me the flexibility to make them whatever colour we wanted.
For our first try with these I coloured them in the primary colours; red, yellow and blue.
I got out our measuring cylinders and then let them explore. They enjoyed mixing them on the plastic trays and then filling up the measuring cylinders with them.
I gave one instruction, “Please keep them on the table”, so you can guess where they ended up! It did mean I had a reason to clean the floor under the table, so that’s a silver lining I guess…
The pearls were sticky compared to the water beads, but adding a bit of water helped with that. I was glad I had put their aprons on though as they didn’t brush off fabric and I had to pick them off my sleeves after I had cleaned the floor!
If you want to make your own edible water beads, you will need:
- 150g tapioca pearls
- 1.2 litres water
- Gel food colouring
- Boil tapioca pearls in the water until they float to the surface; ours took around 8 minutes.
- Drain into a sieve and rinse in cold water.
- Place into containers and add a small amount of gel food colouring. Mix thoroughly. Leave for 10 minutes to soak up the colour.
- Rinse off the excess food colouring with cold water by rinsing the pearls in a sieve.
- Transfer to containers or trays. Add a little cold water if the pearls stick together.
- Ready, steady, get messy!
Update: Despite putting the pearls in the fridge they didn’t last well and were not good the next day, so make them just before you plan to use them.