Frozen Water Beads Play

Take water bead play to the next level by freezing them. Children will love watching what happens as the water beads melt and change. A great sensory and learning activity.

Have your kids experienced water beads yet? We have had lots of fun with them in the past when we had creative play with water beads. Water beads are tiny hard beads that resemble pellets. They grow when left in water, and become a slippery and squishy sensory material that kids enjoy playing with. Recently, after some fun with water beads, we decided to freeze the beads to see what would happen. This resulted in a fun sensory experience that kept my little one engaged for the longest time.

*If you are interested in purchasing supplies for this activity, affiliate links are provided at the end of this post.

I had no idea what would happen if we froze water beads. I actually thought they would revert back to their small state from the cold. Kind of like a water bead version of shrinkage. Turns out, they stayed roughly the same size and just became suspended in the ice.

Water beads in ice

To freeze water beads you will need some plastic cups. I love to re-use apple sauce/fruit cups. We have used them for colorful dancing milk and homemade finger paint. They were just the right size for this activity. I just filled them up to the top with water and added water beads that had already grown.

freezing water beads

I put them in the freezer overnight and popped them out of the cups and into a plastic bin filled with water.

frozen water beads

water bead play

First, I just let my daughter explore this on her own. She said "wow" over and over as she picked up the ice and looked at the water balls suspended inside.

ice play

She thought they looked like flowers.

exploring frozen water beads

Ignore the background mess. This is my life. I provided my daughter with a spoon and fork so she could explore the ice.

water beads activity

Soon, the ice started melting in the water and the water beads looked like they were getting bigger.

Kick water bead play up a notch by freezing them. Children will love watching what happens as the water beads change and melt. A fun sensory and learning activity.

My daughter tried to break open the ice and free the water beads with her fork.

playing with water beads

She loved holding the ice as it melted.

melting ice

She tried to use all her senses for this activity.

water beads fun

When the ice did melt, the water beads started breaking down as well.

colorful water beads

At the end, only colorful bits of pieces of water beads remained.

If you enjoyed our water bead activities, check out our other play ideas with water beads and water.

Creative Play with Water Beads
Creative Play with Water Beads

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Water Table Play Props - Just a few items you have at home can bring new life and excitement to a water table.

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  1. First - I like your background mess because that is REAL LIFE :)

    Second - what a great idea. We have had so much fun since you first posted this and I ordered some. Thanks.

  2. Never would have thought about freezing them in water. We have just begun experiencing water beads -- so fun!

    (Oh, and my counters look the same way...)

  3. Cool idea. Never have used water beads.
    I wouldn't even have noticed your "background mess" if you hadn't brought it up.

  4. How fun! I never would have thought about freezing them! Thanks for the post :-)

    rebecca at

  5. We did this today and my girls had a blast!! Thanks.