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I say this every year but I CANNOT believe how fast summer has flown by! We have really loved having all of our sensory summer bins to look forward to each morning, and will be taking a few weeks off before starting our regular "school" schedule. You'll have to stay tuned for our Baby Bins and Preschool plans but until then here are 10 ways to play with water beads!
*Disclaimer: While water beads are a super fun and engaging sensory experience, they can be very dangerous if swallowed (or costly if put down your drain), so PLEASE use with caution and very close supervision! NEVER let children play with water beads alone.

If you want to gather all of your materials before you start, we found almost everything we needed at Target, The Dollar Tree or on Amazon. Here are all the materials we used:

**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Water Bead Sorting:
We started out the week by filling our Under Bed Clear Storage Bin with regular water beads and
giant water beads. Then we used our colored cups for sorting and exploring.
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Water Bead Tubes & Funnels:
Next, I added in a few funnels and PVC tubes. The best part about this play idea was that it kind of forced my girls to work together because one had to hole the tube/funnel while the other dropped the water beads in.
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Water Bead Scooping:
Our next play idea was simple but kept the girls so busy! I added a few measuring cups
scoops, and empty tupperware containers and the girls had a great time scooping, dumping, and exploring.  They especially loved that the beads bounced as they dropped them in the containers.
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Water Bead Filling:
After the girls were done filling up the large containers, I challenged their fine motor skills by adding in small empty bottles for filling. 
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Water Bead Counting:
We used ice cube trays next for some counting practice. First, Madelynn practiced counting one bead into each spot. Then we predicted how many beads would fit in one spot and then filled and counted to find out!
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Water Bead Balloons:
I wasn't too sure how this one would work out, but after trying water balloons last week, I wanted to find a way to use balloons again. First, I stuffed a bunch of water beads into several regular balloons. Next, I blew up a few of the balloons with air.  Then, I filled the rest of the balloons with water. The air filled balloons made great shakers, and the water filled balloons were fun to swirl around.
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Water Bead Light Play:
For this activity we brought some of our water beads indoors to play with on our favorite clear tray with some stretchy sharks and mermaids. Then I placed our light pad underneath the tray.
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Soapy Water Beads:
Another fun and messy sensory addition to our bin was Mr. Bubble Foam Soap. The girls loved trying to grab and wash the slippery soapy beads as the bounced all over the bin.
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Frozen Water Beads:
After washing all of the soap off of the water beads I threw them in the freezer overnight.  The next morning we took them out and threw them in our bins.  They slowly thawed out as Madelynn tried to break them up with her hands and by throwing them in the bin. Beware that the frozen beads are super tempting for littles to put in their mouth! My youngest had to sit this activity out after a few minutes since her first instinct was to try to lick them...To be fair they did look pretty delicious ;)
Need ideas for water bead activities? Check out these 10 sensory play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten sensory bins!
Water Bead Smashing:
After about 15 minutes of exploring the frozen beads I added in our toy hammers and screwdrivers. This was enough of a distraction so Miss Aubrey was able to join back in.  The girls worked together for this grand finale activity. They LOVED smashing and crushing the beads.They were definitely destroyed afterwards so this is a good final activity to try when you are ready to toss a batch of beads.

Do your kids LOVE water beads? What are your favorite ways to play?

If you missed our  previous themes, you can catch up here:

I think my girls would live in their swimsuits all summer long if I let them. My little fishies sure do love water play so I was excited to plan a few activities to spice up our normal water play.  Here are our 10 ways to play and keep cool with water and ice!

If you want to gather all of your materials before you start, we found almost everything we needed at Target, The Dollar Tree or on Amazon. Here are all the materials we used:

**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Water Scooping and Dumping:
We started out the week by filling our Under Bed Clear Storage Bin with water. Then I added some fine motor toolscolored bowls, and colored cups for simple scooping, dumping and exploring.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Pom Pom Splash:
For some reason little Miss Aubrey is obsessed with pom poms or "fuzzballs" as Madelynn likes to call them.  I thought it would be interesting to explore with them in the water.  The girls liked to swim with them, squish them between their toes, squeeze out the water and sort them by color. 
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Water Balloons:
So my girls have never played with water balloons before because the choking factor freaks me out a little bit, but I decided to give it a try this week and keep a close eye on Miss Aubrey. I grabbed a pack of these Water Balloons from Target and goodness gracious the inventor of Bunch O' Balloons is a genius! It was seriously amazing being able to fill 20 balloons in 5 seconds. They squirted each other a bit, but mostly had fun smashing them on the ground while I quickly picked up all the pieces so Aubrey didn't try to eat them ;)
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Water & Ice Kitchen:
Next, I used food coloring to make lots of colored water which I froze in different shaped ice cube molds. I threw all of the frozen shapes into our water filled bin with play dishes and the girls made all kinds of delicious concoctions for me to taste.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Icy Alphabet Soup:
For this activity I froze alphabet beads in ice cube trays and dumped them in our water bin.  The girls scooped, mixed and watched as the letters slowly melted into their alphabet soup.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Ice Castles:
This was definitely the girls favorite activity of the week. If you have princess fans in your house they will LOVE pretending with these frozen ice castles. First I froze water in sand castle molds overnight. Then we added our small princess toys and the girls loved every minute of it!
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Ice Painting:
After we were a little tired of playing with princesses, I added some liquid watercolors and paintbrushes to our bin and we painted the castles before they melted down too much.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
  Ice Painting:
For some more painting fun I made colored ice cubes with Jello! I didn't want to use liquid watercoloring because I knew the girls would be tempted to taste them.  I mixed 1 cup water with 1 packet of Jello, then froze them in trays with popsicle sticks for handles. Then I taped a sheet of butcher paper on the ground and let the girls paint and taste away! Lots of sticky messy fun that smelled amazing!
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Color Mixing:
For our color mixing activity, I set up cups with a rainbow of colored water.  This activity didn't last long before all the water was brown, but the girls enjoyed the dumping and scooping the water even after all the pretty colors were gone.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Car Wash:
This was a close second for favorite activity of the week. We needed to clean up our sensory bin and patio from all the color play anyways so this made a perfect ending activity. I filled our bin with fresh water, spongesscrub brushes, and soap. Then I turned out hose on low and the girls scrubbed and washed their Cozy Coupe Car until it was sparkling and new!

Do your kiddos live in the water all summer long? What are your favorite ways to keep water play interesting?

If you missed our  previous themes, you can catch up here:

This summer we are spending a whole week at a time using the same sensory bin full of materials and coming up with different ways to play every day. See you next week for our last bin of the summer, water beads!
Fall will be here before we know it and with fall comes all kinds of things we love! Pumpkins, hayrides, leaf piles and APPLES! If you are planning an apple theme for your classroom or homeschool this fall, you’ll definitely want to check out these great apple picture books!

**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**
 1. Under the Apple Tree by Steve Metzger: "Come along and sit with me, underneath my apple tree!" This book is about all of the fun one little boy has around his backyard apple tree. It is nice and simple and we love the rhymes and artwork.


 2. The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall: In this book, two children follow the cycle of an apple tree through the seasons. The story ends with a warm apple pie being taken from the oven and includes a recipe to make your own! We love the paint and paper collage style illustrations.

 3. Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie by Herman Parish: In this Amelia Bedelia book, Amelia visits her grandparents and makes a pie with her Grandma. In true Amelia Bedelia fashion, she mistakes Granny Smith for a person and thinks that a farmer's market is a place to buy farmers. This book had us giggling the whole way through.

 4. Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd: This book tells all about how Johnny Appleseed grew from a young boy who loved the outdoors into the well known man who planted apple trees all across the county. A great biography for little learners.

 5. Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace: Minna and her family visit an apple orchard and learn all about apples. The book shows how apples are grown, different varieties, proper picking techniques, and different foods that can be made with apples. This was more of an informational book than a story, and we loved the cut felt style illustrations.

 6. Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss:  A lion, a dog, and a tiger show all of the fun things they can do all while balancing apples on their heads. Practice counting over and over again while the animals hop, balance on wires, and even roller skate! These adorable characters will have little ones reading, counting, and giggling along!


 7. One Green Apple by Eve Bunting: This is a different kind of apple themed book but I had to add it to this list because of the message it teaches. Through one Muslim girl's experience, this book shows how a community can be kind and welcoming to strangers and newcomers. The illustrations are stunning and the topic so important.


 8. Apple Fractions by Jerry Pallotta: Really cute book for teaching literature and math together. It would be fun to use actual apples to cut into pieces along the way for some delicious hands on learning.

 9. Apples by Gail Gibbons: I LOVE Gail Gibbons books for introducing nonfiction concepts. This book does not disappoint and covers everything from pollination to picking and eating.

 10. Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins: This book combines rhyming, counting, repetition and animal sounds for a fun apple themed read aloud with a surprise ending.

 11. The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons: This book describes the changing seasons and the way an apple tree changes and grows. Arnold shows all kinds of seasonal activities that he loves to do around his apple tree. At the end of the book there is a recipe for apple pie and a description of how an apple cider press works.


12. How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro: This is another great non fiction book about how apples grow.  A great book for comparing with The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons:

If you are still a little overwhelmed trying to decide which books to use and what skills to practice, I am taking all the guesswork out of that for you!

I created this Apples: Read & Respond resource to go along with 5 of my favorite apple books above. It is the perfect way to strengthen comprehension and writing skills along with some fun craftivities to keep your kids engaged! And all of the activities are differentiated for K-2 and Common Core aligned.

Practice visualizing and narrative writing with Under the Apple Tree by Steve Metzger.
Plus create this fun Apple Tree Craft!
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Sequence a story and write an acrostic poem with The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall.We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!

We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Teach character traits and how to writing with Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie by Herman Parish.
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!

We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Learn to identify important information and compose informative writing with Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd.
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Practice using text features and crafting opinion writing with Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Plus make this adorable Apple Labeling Craft!
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
You can grab all of these activities here Apples: Read & Respond, happy fall!
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!

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