Playing with water beads to work on fine motor skills, learn colors, shapes, and letters.

Since I began preschool at home with my oldest now (age 6) I’ve learned her attention span is short and if something isn’t fun to her she isn’t going to retain the information or participate. Rather she’ll run off and quit before she gives it a chance. Eventually I’ve learned to go with it and just do my best to put as much educational value in our play time as possible.

Water beads are a great way to casually go over basic skills, work on fine motor skills and have fun through sensory play. When we play with water beads my daughters grab tools from their play kitchen such as, pots, spoons, plates, cups, and their toy blender. They also bring out their toy hammer to smash the water beads helping with fine motor skills. I throw in their alphabet beads to incorporate letters during play time. As my youngest (age 2) plays I mention the letters as she scoops them up, and point out their colors to cover as much as possible. The key to learning is repetition and as much exposure as possible.

Smashing water beads.
Putting water beads in a cup and smashing them.
Making water bead soup.
Placing beads in a blender.
Putting letters together to make words with my oldest.
My oldest sounding out short words. As I introduce the concept that letters put together can make words to my youngest.
Incorporating shapes and letter learning within water beads time.
Incorporating numbers into water bead time.
The ending mess.

It’s not often I bring water beads out and the above picture is why. The mess is horrible. My kids are messy and when they’re finished playing I try to make them clean up their messes. Although when it comes to water beads I allow them to take off as I clean up the mess myself. When they help the water beads only become smashed into the carpet further. As you can tell by the picture my carpet is a dirty mess in general, between play dough time, and whatever else ends up all over it.

My oldest is currently on summer break therefore I have been allowing the two of them to pick our activities. In which I try and add in as much educational value within them as possible while keeping it fun and relaxed that way my oldest still feels she is on a break.

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The above doodle pad and alphabet beads are not the exact ones I bought for my kids, we’ve had ours for several years and the versions shown above are the closest I could find.

Click image above for a basic summer learning schedule.
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Build a Colorful Caterpillar game for young learners.

My youngest daughter (age 2) is always pointing out animals and bugs all around her because of that interest I’ve been gathering and making supplies for a bug theme learning unit to use throughout the summer for both my daughters. For a fun color learning game I made a template to print out, laminate for durability, and cut out. The concept of the game is to build a colorful caterpillar.

Colorful Caterpillar

I added green legs with different color words on them to use as an additional matching activity for early readers. I’m always trying to incorporate reading into games to keep them appropriate for my oldest daughter (age 6) as well.

The game can be played by laying the pieces out and allowing the children to grab them and build a caterpillar. Or for a more active version to get the kids up and moving you can hide the pieces throughout the house and or classroom and have the kids build the caterpillar as they find each piece. It can be done alone, or as a great co-op activity.

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The above images are my Amazon picks.

Click image above for more bug related learning fun.
Click image above for more bug related learning fun.
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