Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sensory Play: Water Beads

Before I had Clara, I stumbled upon a site dedicated to playing with your kids called Play At Home Mom. I knew I was going to be staying home with Clara but since she's my first child, I didn't really know what I was supposed to do with her. I know people who let television raise their kids, who never let their kids touch books, who never let their kids get messy, and I didn't want to be that mom. I knew from the start I wanted to be a hands-on mom so I researched and pinned and incorporated mess into the raising of Miss Maze.

I've gotten some questions about what I do with Clara and how I have time for everything. And the answer is simple: I don't have time for everything. Clara Mae is my priority. I'm a Stay-at-Home-Mom before I'm a Stay-at-Home-Maid or a Stay-at-Home-Quilter. Yesterday, I had planned to vacuum and mop my floors, but instead we had a fun little impromptu play date with Alyssa (Pile O'Fabric) and her kids. This morning, there are billowing tumbleweeds of dog hair roaming across my kitchen floors and the remnants of crushed Cheerios in my living room. I am meticulous about my home being organized and clean, but I've learned to loosen my grip on those reigns, just refuse to be stressed, so I can live a fulfilling life with my child.

I don't know how often I'll post about what Clara and I do or how involved of a set-up it will be, but I would love to inspire other moms to get hands-on with their kids if they aren't already. Let them be messy. Let them be independent. Let them be kids.

I would also like to say here that I am not an expert in child rearing. I don't have training in occupational therapy or pediatric anything. I would also like to say that my parenting style is not necessarily the best and I am by no means attempting to degrade anyone, especially based off their parenting. I think we all have different gifts and qualities that form us into the people we have become, so whether parenting or in a leading role at work, we know what woks for us. I happen to be ridiculously patient with children and have not a shred of patience for incompetent business associates. I know who I am. I know what I can handle as a mom. We make messes.

So here is the content of my first post.

Water beads.

These were created for use in flower vases, to give the vases color and help store water. They are non-toxic, so if they land in the yard they won't kill my very tiny patch of green grass, which is good, because I like my little spot of grass.

Water Bead Sensory Play

I bought these beads at the Dollar Tree down the street from my house. You can buy them already hydrated, like I did, or you can buy them in little packages that look like seeds. That kind will need to be soaked in water over night to completely hydrate, but the directions are on the package for you to follow.

Water Bead Sensory Play

For the sensory "table", we are using one of mommy's quilt project bins. I bought it at Wal-Mart for about $7. It has a lid and can be stored under the patio table outside. I would eventually like to get/make a sensory table for my yard where Miss Maze can stand and play, but that's just not in the budget right now. I improvised and she still loves it. Toddlers are easy to please. I imagine something like this for the future:

My AMAZING friend, Nancy from Owen's Olivia, put this piece together for Creating With The Stars hosted by EC3. You can check out the link here to see some other pictures of her sandbox/sensory table and to learn more about the Creating With The Stars contest going on now.

Water Bead Sensory Play

Clara had a blast, but I can't show you the rest of the pictures because she decided she wanted to play naked.

I'm trying to be a 'yes' mom.

Yes, you may use mommy's measuring spoons in your sensory box.
Yes, you may put rocks and dirt in the sensory box with your water beads.
Yes, you may take off your diaper and run around naked with the dogs.

One of my main concerns, as followers of my blog may already know, is our budget. I want to have fun and I want Clara to learn, but we need to do it on the cheap. Sensory tables are great for that and I will be sure to let you know where I get my supplies for each set-up. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.



  1. You are giving CM just the best start in life. I love what you are doing Danny. Beautiful images of CM by the way :)

  2. What fun! You make me wish my kids were young again! I used to be a preschool teacher (til I worked with Deaf preschool kids and then had to learn to sign) and I love, LOVE, love all the fun stuff we did with the little ones. They are SO easy to please...shaving cream with some food color in it, homemade play-doh and weird goobligook made from cornstarch! Love that you share your day I will do some of these things with my grandkids!

  3. You're my kind of mummy! Great activities for kids. Let them be messy, let them explore. The best play requires little expense. Boxes to play and hide in, dress up clothes, quilts for building forts with! And a sandpit is a great investment. We built one when my daughter was about 15 months and it was the best. Gets them playing outdoors too.

  4. Yay for mess, I love the look of those water bead thingies


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