Practicing Dexterity with Giant Water Beads

As many of my readers know we are a little water bead mad in our house! Feeling a little guilty for not having prepared many sensory or play activities recently (I have a good excuse honest!) I googled Giant Water Beads and found some on eBay. I wasn’t really planning on writing a post on them but they have been such a hit I wanted to share our experience.

Practicing Dexterity with Giant Water Beads

Practicing Dexterity with Giant Water BeadsThey are different to normal beads mainly because of their size! This means that they take longer to hydrate, the instructions recommended that you soak the 20 beads in 2-2.5 litres of water for 48 hours. You don’t want them to take on too much water too quickly, one of ours did swelling to the expected size overnight but this meant as soon as you tried to pick it up it burst. Thats the only downside with these large beads, they are no where near as robust and I don’t think you will get multiple play sessions out of them like the normal beads. However they are cheap and so much fun it doesn’t really matter.

Practicing Dexterity with Giant Water BeadsMonkey couldn’t wait to get them out to play with, as they are larger they are a lot wetter than normal beads so I didn’t try them on the light table. Instead I opted to place them in storage box with some Learning Resources Handy Scoopers. If you have not come across these before they are great for developing dexterity skills. They are basically scissors with scoops on the end instead of blades. We use them for all manner of sensory play, with rice, beans, pom poms and they have little holes in them so work well in water as well.

Monkey needed no encouragement to start picking up the beads with the handy scoopers:

Practicing Dexterity with Giant Water Beads

Practicing Dexterity with Giant Water BeadsHe then tried to pass them between hands which took a lot of practice. It was great to watch the concentration knowing how much he was developing without even realising.

We also had a discussion about how he found it easier passing to his right hand from his left rather than the other way round. It appears that Monkey is left handed, although we are not categorising him yet we don’t really expect it to change as he favours his left for almost everything.

Practicing Dexterity with Giant Water Beads

They have been out for three days now and he’s played with them every day for about half an hour at a time. You can find the ones we brought on Ebay here. As I brought multiple packets I am sure we will have many other activities in the coming weeks, plus they may great stocking fillers!

What do you do to help with your child’s dexterity.


A Cornish Mum


  1. .Sara. (@OoSerzoO)

    Wow. These look awesome and so much fun, they’re huge!! I’ve never seen ones that big before, either. I like the scoopers, too. It looks Monkey is enjoying him, he looks like a pro at using the scoopers. I’m gonna have a look for some of these for my niece, my children might be a little old now but I’m sure they’d still find them fun! 🙂 xx

  2. Tanita

    These look awesome, thanks so much for sharing. I have never seen anything like this before and looks like a great way to develop their dexterity skills. I would love some of these for Archie. I think he would really enjoy this as he is nearly two and is into everything. It’s a lovely age to teach them lots of practical life skills. X

  3. Jenny

    These are fantastic! We have just got a pair of scoopers too, but I hadn’t seen the amazing giant water beads, we’ll have to find them too. Admittedly we have been avoiding water beads recently as A gets involved with sensory play now and I worry about him eating them. 🙂 x #toddlerapproved

  4. Adventures of Adam

    Wow – those water beads are HUGE! We love water bead play but have never tried giant ones. Now off to get some for Adam!

  5. Lukeosaurus And Me

    Those handy grippy things look great, I’ve seen them used before but I never knew what they were called. I’ll have to add them to my amazon cart for next time I’m buying something. This looks like a lot of fun, water beads are on our to-do list this year as we’ve never played with them before! Ray xx #toddlerapprovedtuesday

  6. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

    Oooh fun! Everytime you write about water beads I try to remember to look for some. Never seen them here in Thailand but will look harder.

    Thanks for hosting #bloggerclubuk

  7. Kate Tunstall, The Less-Refined Mind

    I’m feeling very out of the loop but I have no idea what these are! They look like the giant glad beads I put in the bottom of my fish tank as a child which I always thought were very pretty! I just know Pixie will love these too, as she adores anything bright and sparkly (usually mummy’s jewellery!). Thanks for sharing! ?

  8. An imperfect Mum (@animperfectmum)

    I haven’t seen these before but they look like great fun. I love those scoopers too. I’ll have to check ebay as I’d love some of these for water play i the garden this summer. Thanks for sharing x

  9. Faye Elizabeth

    They look awesome! My little one would love these, I think I might have to pick some up and have a go with her. They remind me of orbeeze (or however you spell it lol) my daughter watches YouTube where the videos include them and they do funny things with them, she’s always asking! I can imagine her face If I showed her these! Thanks for sharing 🙂 #bloggerclubuk

  10. occupation:(m)other

    I’ve never heard of water beads. They look brilliant. We do all sorts of things like button play and peg mosaic etc but these look amazing…I would have to be VERY clear that they weren’t balls though, my son is ball obsessed. #bloggerclubuk

  11. Kat

    I wish I had found blogs like this when my daughter was younger so we could have done more activities at home together. She is right handed and loves drawing and writing, I am amazed at how much her skill has improved over the last few years and the care and detail she puts into each part of her drawings. It looks like you had a lot of fun with this activity and it’s a great idea! #BloggerClubUK

  12. Sara Handy Herbs

    These look great Clare – I had no idea you could get them that big! You always have such great ideas 🙂 We do a lot of cooking which helps with dexterity but we need to get some of those! #BloggerClubUK

  13. Mrs Taylor

    these look fab! when my threenager is in the mood he does love playing with toddler friendly large tweezers. we made it into a tidy up game recently see what he could pick up with the tweezers, great for hand strength. he also loves playdoh an oldie but a goodie for hand muscles. thanks for sharing #BloggerClubUK

  14. Kerry-Ann

    You are such a great Mum, I can’t believe all the things you think of to do with the Munchkin. Mine are, unfortunately past the point of waterbeads but will definitely be passing this post on to my sisters-in-law. Threading beads was really big when my two were younger – that would keep them occupied for a good amount of time. Thanks for sharing! x #BloggerClubUK

  15. supermum2016

    These look like a lot of fun. I have never seen anything like this before. Going to take a look online. What age group would you recommend them for?

  16. nipperandtyke

    My son has those scoops at nursery – they use them with pom poms. So good for building their strength in their hand muscles as a preparation for writing! The water beads are brilliant, they look so tactile. Not sure we would be able to resist squishing them til they burst 🙂
    x Alice

  17. ljdove23

    We love water beads here too! My youngest daughter has hyper mobility so we often use these to improve her dexterity also. I find them so therapeutic too, I could sit for hours just running them through my fingers! #bloggerclubuk

  18. ShoeboxofM

    Hadn’t heard of these before, they look interesting!

    Our eldest has hyper-mobility and did a lot of work with play dough both at home and at nursery and it really helped her.


  19. Mainy - myrealfairy

    Like many, I hadn’t heard of these before but will definitely have a look. Even though mine are getting a bit bigger I think they would like the whole process and as you say, they are good for stocking fillers too.

    Mainy – myrealfairy


  20. butterflymum83

    I’ve been dying to try water beads for a while, they look so interesting and these giant ones are especially cool! Those scissors look great too, never seen those before.

    My son has always had pretty good fine motor skills – I think because he was baby-led weaned so used to picking up things early – but his skills still need developing so might have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  21. tammymum

    Wow Iv never heard of them before but they look great, not sure if my little ones a bit young but definitely worth a go. Great post thanks for sharing #bloggerclubuk

  22. mummydaddymia

    These look great for little hands! Mia loves water at the moment and I’m getting fed up of her pouring water over everything she can find so this would keep her entertained for ages! 🙂


  23. twotinyhands

    I’ve never seen these before. I’ll have to do some investigating. They look like fun for grownups too! #BloggerClubUK

  24. Mess and merlot

    Ooooh I’ve never heard of these. My two are a bit too old for them now but they look like a great idea, I quite fancy a go myself – looks quite therapeutic! 🙂 #BloggerClubUK

  25. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    This looks like so much fun but there is also so much learning! I’m impressed monkey was able to pass the beads back & over like that. Those scissor grabbers are a fab idea to make the play more interesting. That definitely took a lot of coordination & effort. #bloggerclubuk

  26. absolutely prabulous

    Blimey I’ve never even heard of these!! This is the problem with moving to a dusty little backwards rock when your first kid was only 14 months old. Love your energy for parenting. Can’t believe you do all this and work and blog AND you’re pregnant. Amazing. #BloggerClubUK

  27. Fionnuala Three Sons Later

    I have never heard of these but they seem like a lot of fun. We have those scissors scoop things but ours are from a kitchen shop and are for making meatballs!

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