At both stores, they were in their dry form and had to be hydrated at home, which is a fun process to watch. You dump these little beads in water, and a few hours later, they have plumped up and become a great sensory toy. I let Trip choose which color we should get,. His choice was blue. I dumped the hydrated beads in a bucket, then added some plastic monsters and foam Ms.
My first instinct was to try this activity in the kitchen sink so that there wouldn't be a huge mess if Trip tried to take all the water beads out of the bucket. He did not like that idea at all, so we tried the table. He did such a nice job with it at the table, that every time after that, we just put our towel down and played in the living room. A few beads came out here and there, but nothing we couldn't contain. They are not messy if they stay whole, but it doesn't take too much pressure to crush them (Trip figured out he could break them but didn't like the feel of the broken ones). I doubt that they would ruin carpet since they would dry up eventually, but I'd rather not find out. They also need to be used with adult supervision as it would probably not be wise to eat them. Another plus, they didn't stain our skin or clothing.
At first, the tub had two monsters in it, the blue one and the orange one. As soon as he saw them, Trip decided that the blue monster was Daddy and the orange was Trip. Later, I found the green one, which of course, ended up being Mommy.
Monkey had to come see the "water" and play along with us. I say us, but Trip really didn't want me to put my hands in the beads. He wanted them all to himself.
Monkey also had to get hugs and kisses from Daddy Monster.
Then, he apparently needed to try the tub out for himself.
A car also had to get in on the action.
A different day, I filled the tub with monkeys. Trip didn't like them as much as the monsters, but liked that they could link hands and pick each other up.
If you have never tried water beads, go get some! This provided so much fun this week, that it was well worth the $2 I spent on it. With more than one child I would suggest using two packages of water beads. Plus, if kept wet, these beads will stay good for a long time, so we can use them again in the future. If you try this activity, please come back and tell us about your experience! We'd love to hear about it!