31 Days of Sensory Play – Fine Motor Fishing in Waterbeads

fine motor skills fishing in water beads

We are delighted to be featuring on Adventure of Adams 31Days of Sensory Play blog hop today. We love sensory play and one of our favourite sensory ingredients right now is water beads. For those of you who are unfamiliar with water beads, they come in a variety of different colours and start out as tiny seed like balls, which you place into water to re-hydrate, as per the instructions on the packet. A few hours later you will have lot of jelly like marbles to play with. Officially they are used to add to colour to floral arrangements, so they are in no way taste-safe. They should only be used under close supervision and with children old enough to understand that these should not be placed into mouths and eaten.

For this activity you will need:

1 packet of blue water beads

1 packet of clear water beads

A deep container

Giant tweezers

Small fishing net

Plastic spoon and cup

Selection of play sea creatures

Shaving foam (optional)

Previously we have used our waterbeads to paint with“bake”withlearn with and play with. They are so versatile and so much fun to use in sensory play activities. We hadn’t used them to work on fine motor skills before, so this was the starting point in thinking up a new activity to try for this sensory play challenge.

We recently purchased a set of giant tweezers to use in some of our fine motor skills activities. I thought that these would be ideal for fishing things out of containers with. So I decided to set up a fishing activity for Bella (aged 2.5) using a selection of our little sea creatures, to do whilst the boys were at school. I prepared the waterbeads the evening before, so all we had to do to get started was to plop in the sea creatures and we were ready to go.

I handed Bella the giant tweezers and asked her to use them to catch all of the fish and drop them into a dish I had placed beside the bowl.  She did really well and caught all of her fish first time. She then of course she wanted to tip them all back in
and start again.

To add a bit of variety to the activity Bella then used a little fishing net to scoop out the fish and pour then into the dish. This resulted in lots of the waterbeads being caught in the net and then being poured all over the table which Bella thought was hilarious (Mummy was less impressed!).
For her final fishing trip she used a plastic spoon and tea cup to make me lots of cups of fishy treats to eat in “Bella’s Café.”
Then we couldn’t finish the activity without adding in some shaving foam, which works so well with waterbeads. It makes them even slipper
and messier and they just feel so nice mixed altogher. (Go on stick you hand in and have a go as well!) So I squirted in some shaving foam and Bella got stuck in with her hands and made me lots of “ice-creams” and “cups of tea”.
When it came to clean up time, I brought a bowl of soapy water over to the table rather than negotiate shaving foam covered toddler to the sink. This also gave me chance to pick up any waterbead escapees from the floor and wipe down the table and floor around her, whilst she splashed in the water getting herself cleaned up.


For lots more great Sensory Play ideas please visit the 31 Days of Sensory Play Pinterest Board.

What’s your favourite Sensory Play ingredient?






11 thoughts on “31 Days of Sensory Play – Fine Motor Fishing in Waterbeads”

  1. Looks like fun! We haven't used water beads yet because I'm worried about the safety aspect of it for my toddler. It was a great idea to add shaving foam to them 🙂

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