Today on Fun Jar Friday
+4 more Fun Jar Activities
Water beads are nothing new to me. But honestly, I thought my kids would get bored of them quickly. How wrong I was! We played with water beads ALL DAY LONG!
You can find water beads at your craft store or in the craft section of Walmart. Usually near the flowers since they are often used as vase decorations for your cut flowers. You can buy a one color pack for about $2 or a three color pack for about $4. Not bad for a day of fun. And they are reusable!
When you get them, they are tiny little plastic beads, no bigger than the head of a pin. You place them in water and they grow grow grow!
They are made of polymer plastic that soaks up water. It's the same stuff that diapers are made of and they are non-toxic. The package says to soak them for about 4-6 hours, but ours were ready in about 2. The longer they soak, the bigger they get and the easier they are to break. Also, as they soak they start to lose their color. If you soak them long enough, they become completely clear. I suggest tossing a few in a separate glass of water just to get them clear, because there are some fun things you can do with clear ones! But they are great on a hot summer day because they stay wet and cool!
On a side note, I am attempting to potty train my 3 year old for the 100th time,
so he's in his skivvies in these pics.
As they grew, my kids couldn't wait to get their hands in the bowl. They loved how
placing things like spoons and their hands made the object appear to glow.
Once the beads were big enough, the boys started sorting them into different cups of water. Once in the water, they appeared to dissolve and soon the water appeared to be just a cup of colored water. But really it was full of water beads!
After we had separated colors, I brought out my light box I used back in the day when I used to study animation. If you don't have a light box, you can use a piece of glass from a picture frame over a lamp to get the same effect. We covered the entire box with beads. The effect was very cool. Then my son had the idea to make pictures out of the beads. We tried simply moving the beads around but they were too slippery. I got out some cookie cutters instead and we filled them with colored beads. When the box was all full, I removed the cookie cutters very slowly. We were happy with the results. You don't really need a light box to make water bead art. A cookie sheet will work just fine! It just won't have the glowing light bright look!
At this point, "He Who Will Not Be Potty Trained" peed all
over the floor. So we breaked for snack.
After a delightful snack, I brought out the clear water beads that I had soaked over night. The cool part about clear water beads is that if you put them in a glass of water, the literally disappear! It's impossible to see them! Makes for an awesome magic trick. My kids made a game out of putting one in a cup
and trying to find it with a spoon. More difficult than it looks!
We also found that if you hold up a clear water bead, you can trap
anything in your crystal ball! Seriously, what kid wouldn't think that was cool?
Then we took our water beads outside. Because water beads are a polymer, they can bounce! A lot! We took it one step farther and put some on the trampoline. This gave us some serious water bead bounces. Note: By doing this, you beads will explode into dust, so I don't suggest dumping the whole bowl on the tramp!
Then I got out the kiddie pool and tossed a few beads in the water. I set the hose in the water so the beads would move around. Then I told the kids to try to catch them. They are so slippery, slimy, they are hard to grasp! After that I put our clear beads in and they disappeared in to the pool. The kids had to find them using feel only!
Then Mr. "I don't care if their pee down my leg" peed all over
everything again so we took another break for lunch.
After lunch we did our final activity. We made water bead night lights. Super easy. We just filled my favorite little mason jars with water beads. They could mix them or layer them, whatever. When the beads got close to the top, place an upside down LED light in it. Keep it exposed at the top so you can flip it on or off. Then put the mason jar lid on. They look cool in the day time, and at night!
When you are done playing with your water beads,
you can put them aside to dehydrate.
In a couple of days, they will be back to their teeny tiny selves.
If you want to speed up the process, place them out in the sun.
Then when you want to play again, just put them back in the water!
If you are interested in more water bead ideas
here's a bunch more I found at the Chocolate Muffin Tree!
Now for some bonus Fun Jar Activities!
#1 Go On A Factory Tour
Did you know you can find free factory tours all over the place? Yep! Just go to Factory Tours USA to find one in your area. Most of them are free or close to it! The one we went to was $1 per person and then we got $4 off our purchase. I highly suggest going on a chocolate factory tour like we did. You get free chocolate, get to see how candy is made, free chocolate, and learn a lot about production lines. And did I mention you get free chocolate? So check it out and go on a factory tour!
#2 Have a Water Party
Just because it's a "party" doesn't mean anyone has to be invited. There will be more about my water party another time. It's quite the story! To have a Fun Jar water party, you just have to have a lot of water things. Get every water activity you own out and let your kids go to town! We had a kiddie pool full of sponge balls, the water pillow, our kid car wash sprinkler, water wall, and our giant bubbles just for good measure. If we had our pool anymore, that would be out too! So grab your water balloons, water guns, floaties, fun noodle and whatever water things you can come up with and toss them out in the yard. You can invite some friends over if you want
or you can have your whole DIY water park to yourself!
#3 Paint You Own Dishes
This is a fun activity for very little money. With some porcelain or ceramic dishes and some paint pens, you can decorate your own dishes. The dollar store has all sorts of different ceramic dishes. Let your kids pick whichever they want. They let then decorate them with paint pens. Once they are decorated, place them in the oven at 300 degrees for 35 min. This will set the paint.
Now you have your own dish made by you!
#4 Make Your Own Fishing Poles
I know what you are thinking. What not just go buy a fishing pole? Well, where's the fun in that? Besides, I like keeping my activities cost effective. So, when I decided I wanted to go fishing with my kids and had no pole, I figured we do it the old school way. Heck, if it' good enough for Huck Finn, it's good enough for us! (no comments about Huck Finn being a fictional character)
So yes, you can make a fishing pole out of stuff you find in your home. The only thing I purchased was the hook. Which, by the way, there are a million different types of hooks. I have no advice on picking the right one. But all of the materials can either be found or purchased if that's the way you want to go about it. If you already have poles, then just take your kids fishing for a fun jar activity.
So, first you need to cut a branch about 4-5 feet in length. Cut all the leaves and side branches from it. Now you have your pole. You can use any kind of thin string. I used a white kite string. Cut it about 2 feet longer than your pole. Tie it around the end and wrap it several times around the pole before tying it again.
For the bobber, you can use anything that floats. Get creative. You can even use bath toys. Just keep in mind that in fishing, the line occasionally breaks so don't use your child's favorite rubber ducky. I used a ping pong ball. The bobber goes about 2 feet from the hook. I used a monster long needle that I have no idea why I have to thread the string through the ping pong ball. Once in place, I tied a triple knot on either side of the ball to keep it in place. The I used my hot glue gun to squirt where the string went through the ball to prevent any water from getting in.
Next comes the sinker. The can be any lead free metal whatever. I used a washer. It goes halfway between the hook and the bobber. I just tied it in place a a couple times. Last comes your hook. The site I was reading suggested using an improved clinch knot. In case you are like me and haven't located your inner boy scout,
here's a great video on how to tie an improved clinch knot.
And now your fishing pole is done. It's not your super high quality fishing pole, but it's great for a beginner. Now get out there and fish! Check around for any fish ponds, rivers and lakes in your area. Wherever other people like to fish. For bait, if you are squirmy about worms and bugs, you can use cheese squares or bread rolled in balls or even hot dogs! I hear catfish love hot dogs.
If you try these out and go fishing, let us know if you catch anything!
We gave it a try, but our poor fish pond is still in shock after several wild fires hit the area. Nobody was catching anything. So I would love to know
if you catch anything with your DIY fishing pole!
Until Next Time, Tiffany!