A couple of months ago we upcycled our Lego/Train Table into a light table. Well, that is if you would consider buying a square of high impact acrylic plexiglass and Christmas lights a upcycle…Since then we have been exploring various ways to play with a light box. This simple activity of Water Beads and Shaving Cream on the Light Table is by far one of my kids’ favorites.
It never ceases to amaze me on how the easiest kids activities are always favorites with my kids. It just goes to show that play does not have to be elaborate or complicated!
Items Needed for Water Bead and Shaving Cream Light Table Play
Playing with Water Beads and Shaving Cream on the Light Table:
Playing with water beads is something that my kids greatly enjoy. They are such a unique material that provides a great fine motor challenge and even has some scientific exploration woven into it! The great thing about exploring water beads on the light table is that the lights underneath provide an excellent medium to explore transparency and the different stages of absorption the water beads go through.
You could literally see the difference between the water beads that had not fully expanded and those that had absorbed their maximum capacity. Those that still had room to absorb more water appeared bumpy and almost looked like they had shattered glass inside of them.
On top of being visually stunning, the kids had a lot of fun running their hands over the water beads, feeling them roll beneath their palms.
They are so much fun to squish!
After the initial exploration, I added some clear cups to the light table for kids to work on their fine motor and cognitive skills with sorting.
It definitely was a challenge to scoop up the waterbeads and drop them into the cups.
When dropped from too high up they bounced right back out!
Meatball even worked on counting and balancing the amounts between the cups. This alone he played with for close to 45 minutes. As soon as he started to get bored with the water beads we squirted some shaving cream directly onto the table.
The way that the shaving cream created shadows on the light table was so much fun. It didn’t take him long to start using the shaving cream to draw pictures.
We have played with water bead and shaving cream before, but this was a whole new experience. It is amazing how just adding one different thing can change play so drastically. It was so fun to see him use the water beads as parts of his pictures (such as the eyes) and then squeeze it all together as he swept his hands over the masterpiece to erase and begin again.
HOURS of fun was had with this ridiculously easy sensory activity. For clean up I did just about nothing. I left this on the table as it was overnight. The next morning when I went down to the playroom the waterbeads had shrunk back down to there in package size (super duper small). I grabbed the vacuum and did a quick 10 minute clean. To clean the dried shaving cream, all that was needed was a quick wipe down with a wet towel. I love including shaving cream in play activities because it is just an emulsion of oil, soap, and water — so it cleans!