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Let's chat about WATER BEADS!

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

They're all the rage and you will probably see them in lots of sensory play set-ups online BUT we don't use them for our little people and you won't find them in our online store and here is why....

Although they look amazing and are definitely a lot of fun when in the right hands. For little people that are STILL MOUTHING (putting objects/non-food based materials in their mouth to explore) they are just not a safe option.

Water beads are designed to expand with water (some up to 400 times their original size) so if swallowed it can pose a huge risk of swelling further inside your little person and obstructing their gastrointestinal tract. This in turn can be a very scary situation requiring emergency assistance and can even be life threatening.

So like anything, they have a time and a place. But for little ones THEY ARE NOT A TOY and we're never designed to be one...

So is there any safe alternative for our little explorers to use instead of these fun looking balls? YES!

We love to use either tapioca pearls or jelly blocks to replicate the feel of water beads as a food based, taste safe alternative. Here are a few recipes you can try at home!


What do I need?

- Tapioca Pearls

- Food colouring

- Water

What do I do?

Bring a saucepan of water to boiling and add your tapioca pearls. Cook for about 15 minutes until they turns translucent.

Drain and rinse thoroughly under cool water.

Split into however many colours you would like to make and add a few drops of food coloring to each. Let sit for 30 minutes before rinsing again to get rid of excess food colouring.

*Tapioca pearls can be found in most supermarkets. (We find ours in Woolworths HERE 🤩😃)


What do I need?

- Gelatine (or jelly crystals)

- Food Colouring

- Water

What do I do?

- Follow directions on packet (gelatine or jelly crystals) BUT add HALF as much water *this is going to make your jelly lovely and firm!

If using gelatin add a few drops of food colouring to the mix before putting in the fridge to set.

- Once set cut your jelly into blocks and they're ready to play!

You can use either of these recipes in lots of different activities! Perfect for small world play - ponds and beaches. And amazing for practicing our fine motor, hand strengthening and transferring, scooping and pouring skills!

So will you be avoiding the water beads until your little one is older now?

Give one of these recipes a go instead.

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