Our Five Ring Circus: Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin - A Sensory Play Experience for Kids of All Ages

Monday, June 24, 2019

Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin - A Sensory Play Experience for Kids of All Ages

Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin

It's the first weekend of Summer, the weather is beautiful, and we're so excited to be outside! The only problem is our hose is temporarily out of commision, so water activities are a no go right now. Cooling down with a Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin was a fun alternative!

My kids are obsessed with water beads! I don't really blame them. They really are fun to play with. There's a reason they put them in gel masks now! ;) Plus they are super inexpensive, and a little goes a long way!

We are big fans of sensory play, and I'm a proponent of letting kids get messy and learn through play. Play really does matter, and introducing sensory experiences at a young age is really important. Sensory play helps kids learn with all of their senses, AND helps them work on their motor skills! Water Beads are a super cool sensory bin filler, and even babies can play (with supervision). Supercharging it with foam soap makes this bin extra fun!

Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin

Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin

The Setup

I say this every time - many containers can be used as a sensory bin! A water table, an activity table, a sink, or a long storage container with a lid will work perfectly, plus you can alternate between them. Most of the time I use the storage container because it's easily portable, and can be covered up with a lid for easy storage.

You're going to want to invest in a Fine Motor Tool Set, and some bowls or mini buckets, because they can be used with almost every kind of sensory bin. We have the Learning Resources Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set, which costs less than $10 on Amazon. It comes with two types of tweezers, a scooper, and a dropper.

Water Beads Sensory Bin

Items Needed

Sensory Bin Fillers

Sensory Bin Tools

How To Set Up The Bin

The setup for this sensory bin is simple, but takes a little bit of time for the beads to grow! A little bit goes a long way with water beads. I linked to our favorite ones on Amazon. They are really inexpensive, and a little goes a long way. The container they come in is small, but you're only going to be using a few teaspoons at a time!

Some people will tell you to use 1 tsp of water beads per 3 cups of water, but I found out that it isn't quite accurate. I actually prefer 1 tsp of water beads per 1 1/2 cups of water. Otherwise, you end up with too much excess water in the bin!

Just fill your bin with the amount of water that you would like to use, sprinkle the water beads throughout, and watch them grow! I think the kids are just as fascinated by this part. It's fun to watch miniscule beads grow to the size of marbles! Although you do have to wait a bit, they start growing immediately, and reach full size within a few hours.

Water Bead Sensory Play


We only keep our water beads for about a week, then throw them away. I love to use a sensory bin with a lid, because the kids can cover it up when they are done playing, and the fillers will stay clean until the next time they play. It can also be used indoors, outdoors, and even on the go! I have a designated storage bin where I keep all of our sensory bin fillers and tools, so everything is in one place when we need to find something.

Play Ideas

  • The best thing about water beads as that they are fun to touch! Kids like to play with them, even if there is nothing else in the sensory bin. They are soft, cool, squishy, and bouncy!
  • Hold a handful of water beads up to a window and check out the pretty colors. 
  • Squeeze the water beads, and watch them pop out of your hands!
  • Scoop them up with a mini shovel and put them in a bowl, then lift the bowl up high, and dump them out. Watch the light reflect off of them as they fall through the air and bounce back into the container. 
  • Use a syringe to suck out any excess water, or suction to a water bead.
  • Use the tweezers to pick up a water bead - it's very tricky!
  • Use the scoop tweezers to scoop up water beads. 
  • Pour the water beads through a large funnel.
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Ready to add the soap foam?!? Spray some soap foam over the top of the water beads, and mix in with your hands. It gives it such a neat texture! As you play, the foam will disappear, so you will have to add more while you play. A nice added bonus is super soft and clean hands when kids are done playing, plus all the soap foam will get mixed in, and the water beads will be able to be used again! (And in case you're wondering, even tweens and teens will play with this sensory bin!)

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Baby Play

Toddlers, Kids, Tweens, and Teens love playing with water beads, but it's also a fun sensory experience for babies! All kids under the age of 3 should be supervised while playing with water beads so they don't eat them, but it's especially important to supervise babies and young toddlers, because these can be a choking hazard.

Coen is now 3 1/2 months old, and it's a tough age. He wants to move, but can't really get anywhere, and he can't sit on his own yet, so I feel like he gets bored. That's why sensory play can mix things up a bit, and help babies use all of their senses!

Babies can...

  • look at the bright colors of the water beads.
  • dip their toes into the water beads and feel the texture and coolness (with help, of course).
  • touch the water beads with hand over hand guidance.
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As you can see, the Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin was a hit with all five of my kids! They are so spaced out in age, and not many things can unite them, but water beads can do just that. The sensory bin ideas using water beads are endless, and no matter how often kids play with them, the novelty doesn't seem to wear off!

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Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin - A Sensory Play Experience for Kids of All Ages (Even Babies!!!)

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  1. Our kids will play with water beads all day long! We love those things!

  2. Water beads really are fun. I like the idea of adding soap foam!



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