Thursday, May 19, 2016

Painting Water Beads

Back in April (yes, April!) we soaked a batch of water beads for small world play in the sensory table. Amazingly, the beads are still in great shape. We've just continued to add a little fresh water every so often. But the other day someone left the top off and it rained (our table is out on the deck.) The beads became pretty huge and it was clear they're pretty close to the end of their timeframe.

Before we got rid of them, I wanted to try and get a little more fun out of them, which led to this art exploration: painting water beads.

This was a great deck activity, or could also easily be done inside. 
water beads
plastic tub
washable paint

We scooped all of the water beads out of the sensory tub and added them to a small, plastic tub. 

Next I set up our paint tray with six different colors of paint and several paint brushes. Big Brother started first by dipping a brush into the paint and then painting onto the top of the water beads. 

As he painted the colors spread out and even started to mix at the edges. Sometimes the colors slipped down to the bottom and sometimes they stayed on top of the beads. 

We loved looking at the different colors and how they looked on the water beads. We also tried pressing paper onto the top to get a "print" from the water beads. On most of our tries the paint was pretty light, but a few of them turned out really well. 

The coolest part? When we were "done" a round of painting I could just put the water beads into our large colander, rinse them, and begin again! They looked almost new again despite having just been painted. Now we could enjoy the activity over and over. 

This art was definitely about the process and not the product, but it was so cool to see how each try could look so different. The boys also had fun swirling them all together to see what shade all the colors mixed into. We decided to hold onto the beads a little bit longer . . . just so we could try painting again! 

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