Clear water beads / Disappearing balls

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Water Beads are small hydrogel balls that soak up 100x their own weight in water so one little packet will expand to make a bowl full of water beads. They can last for years if you look after your them with a weekly rinse in clean water. 

Each package contains 10g of these non-toxic and biodegradable superabsorbent polymer beads 10g.  That's approx 600 beads which, once expanded, make up approximately 1L of hydrated balls. Ideal for ages 6+.

These clear water beads, once they have absorbed water, amazingly 'disappear' when placed in clear water and reappear when removed.

Pop them in a glass, bowl or vase for a table decoration
Add to a cut flower arrangement
Use as a soil substitute for indoor plants
Table decoration for a wedding or dinner function
Great outdoor fun (water fights)
Wonderful for sensory play

Or use them for science exploration:

  • Compare how water beads feel before you add them to water and after.
  • Examine the dehydrated and hydrated beads under a magnifying glass or microscope.
  • Record how much water you added to the dehydrated beads, and how much was drained off over after soaking.  Think about what has happened to the water.
  • See what happens when you soak them in coloured water.
  • Explore what happens if you soak some in salt water.
  • Examine what happens if you place hydrated beads into salt water.
  • Try soaking some beads in tonic water, taking them to a dark room, and shining a UV torch on them.  Note these beads will need to be disposed of after trying this out.
  • Watch what happens to the hydrated beads when you drop them into a dish of water.
  • Discover what happens if you put the hydrated beads in the freezer.
  • Measure (and graph) how much they grow per hour - use a tall thin container for easiest measuring.  Do they grow at a steady rate?
  • Compare how fast they grow when you add cold, warm or hot water.
  • Take a photo through a bead and examine the outcome.
  • Place a picture on a table and put a clear dish on top.  Cover with several layers of expanded beads and observe the picture from above.  Add water and watch the change.
  • Try leaving them out of water for a few days and observe what happens to them.
  • Pair this up with a tube of Instant Snow, another superabsorbent polymer.  How are these two materials similar?  How are they different.

These water beads might spark an interest in learning more about polymers, absorbency, density, osmosis, chemical vs physical change, reversible and irreversible reactions, states of matter, colour, transparency and translucency, fluorescence, volume, and refraction.

Parents and teachers, do not leave young children alone with these beads, and make sure noone eats them.