4th of July Fun with Water Beads

Looking for a fun activity for your little ones this 4th of July holiday that doesn’t involve striking matches, combustion, or loud noises? Try making a red, white & blue sensory tub with water beads!

Water Beads are the latest early childhood sensation! They are tiny little beads that absorb water up 100 times their size and feel bouncy, slippery, and altogether wonderful. They are awesome for sensory tubs as well as dumping and pouring (for children 3 and older…they are a choking hazard for the little ones)!

Officially, they are:

“A type of water-absorbent polymer that absorbs, stores, and then releases water needed for growing plants. It is nontoxic and completely biodegradable.”

Obviously, they weren’t originally created to be used for children’s sensory tubs and exploration, but they have been recruited none the less!

For this activity, I bought each individual package of red, white, and blue “dry” water beads from JoAnn’s (using my 50% off coupons, of course). The brand I used was called “Aqua Gems”. I believe the colors were officially called “Pearl White, Ruby, and Dark Blue”.



If you buy the “dry” water beads, you’ll have to soak them in the suggested amount of water for 4-6 hours.


After 4-6 hours, the beads should have absorbed most of the water but you’ll want to dump out any remaining water.

To make the flag mold, I just took a silverware tray and covered it with foil.

Scoop and dump each individual color of beads into the tray.

Then dump all the remaining beads into a shallow plastic tub (or sensory table) and let your kids get busy!








I put the lid on our tub and am planning on pulling these water beads out frequently as we gear up for the holiday! If they start to dry out, all you have to do is add a little water!


And can I just say that instead of swimming in a pool of spaghetti like the cute little old lady on Patch Adams, I would REALLY love to swim in a swimming pool filled with water beads???


  1. Do you have any tricks to keep them from all getting broken? I’ve only done this once, but by the end of the day, most of the beads had been broken in half.

  2. I remembered you posting about these with your monster unit and was wanting to get some for an aquatic sensory bin. I love your idea of making a flag with the utensil tray. Thanks for letting us know where to get them too… I’m hoping to get to JoAnn’s tonight!!!

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