I’m a huge advocate of alphabet activities that revolve around play! Over the summer I read a post at The Artful Parent about water beads and I immediately had to order them. They had been sitting in a drawer waiting for me to get some creative inspiration to use them for literacy learning.
Fast forward a few months and the opportunity to participate in the 31 Days of ABC series pops up with only a few letters left to pick from. I love collaborative projects and when I saw that the “w” slot was open, I immediately thought of those water beads sitting in the drawer.
So, here you go. Four fun alphabet activities that all involve water beads! We are showcasing W is for water beads!
Water Bead Alphabet Activities
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Please note that water beads are not edible. If your little ones still put things in their mouth, you may want to wait until they are older to do these activities.
Water beads are these cool little polymer beads that “grow” when placed in water. They are traditionally used in fresh cut flower arrangements. But, they make a very neat sensory experience for kids (well adults too).
Build a Letter
Water beads are a wonderful experience on their own, but add in shaving cream and you have double the sensory fun! We squirted a mound of shaving cream on a jelly roll pan. Smeared it out and then used the water beads to build different letters. You may want to have a set of flashcards on hand to use as a model for the correct letter formation.
We also tried the same activity using sand. A very different sensory experience with the contrast of the rough sand and the slippery water beads.
Water Bead Letter Bounce
Water beads bounce. We found this out when my son dropped the whole bowl of beads. They bounced and rolled EVERYWHERE!
For this activity we used a small plastic container filled with mini paper cups that were labeled with letters. Leave a space in the middle of the container. This will be your bouncing station.
Bounce a bead in the middle of the container to see if it will land in a cup. When it does, name the letter inside the cup. Its so fun to see how many you can get into each cup.
Fill a Letter
Preschoolers love to fill things. For this activity we simply took the mini paper cups from the previous activity and my son filled as many of the cups that he could with beads. Kids can use their fingers, spoons, pinchers or small scoops to fill the cups.
We even worked a little math into the activity. I had him estimate how many cups he would be able to fill. Each time he filled a cup, I asked him if he wanted to keep his same estimate or revise it.
Spin a Water Bead
Pull out a lid from a plastic container and a few magnetic letters that your child needs to practice. Place the letters around the perimeter of the lid. Put one water bead on the lid. Have your child give it a push along the “track”. When it stops, your child names the letter where the water bead lands.
Check out some of our favorite alphabet books and other alphabet games and activities.
Also, check out the W is for Web post last year from Mamas Like Me.
This post is part of a month long series called 31 Days of ABC. Each day throughout the month a different blogger shares alphabet learning activities and resources. Be sure to check out the full schedule, and link up your own alphabet posts below!