Water Beads are by far one of my kids favorite sensory materials. The ways that you can play with water beads are endless and they are cheap! We have tried everything from adding scents to our water beads to freezing them! Our lesson this week had a craft that required Marbles and Paint to do it. While we had the paint, we did not have any marbles lying around. But…we did have water beads! We had an absolute blast with this substitution – Painting with Water Beads was a major hit!
What I loved about this activity is that while it was very messy, it was super adaptable to meet the needs of both of my kids!
Painting with Water Beads
To set up play is insanely easy. Simply prepare your water beads and set them and your art materials out for kids to explore. Personally I did not explain to my kids what to do with the water beads. I just stood back and watched what they did.
Livia started out dropping a couple of beads into her paint.
And then dropped them on to her tray and rolled them around — she has done this before with marbles 😉
Her end result was a beautiful abstract piece of art! (with a big cloud of sadness – she was mad at me for saying no more Pop Tarts)…
Meatball on the other hand has never painted with marbles before, but he has played extensively with Water Beads in sensory bins. So he approached this activity like a sensory bin and dumped ALL of his water beads directly into his paint and then poured all of that on to his paper.
He had a blast exploring the funky texture.
And squishing. He had a lot of fun exploring what color combinations created what. Although he was slightly disappointed once he discovered that paint, once mixed, does not un-mix.
What do Children Learn Through Process Art?
Children use their fine motor skills in manipulating items such as the water beads.
Children compare, predict, plan, and problem solve as they create.
Social and Emotional
Process art provides children a chance to explore and explain their emotions in a relaxing and non-threatening environment. Art is an awesome way for promoting a feeling of success and accomplishment when tackling some of those scary topics.
Language and Literacy
Discussing process art with children provides so many different opportunities- story telling, comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and more. Process Art provides an avenue for exploring concepts that your child is ready to explore.
BUT my absolute favorite thing about Process Art? There is NO “is this right?” or “I can’t do it!” There is only fun and creativity 😉