What to do with Water Beads

What to Do with Water BeadsWe love water beads. LOVE them!

I’ve been sharing some of our water bead play on Instagram and Facebook lately and have been surprised by how many people are either not familiar with them or ask what to do with water beads.

So, I thought I’d put together a post with

  • where to get water beads
  • how to hydrate them
  • and some of the fun things we do with them.

I’ll also link to some other posts around the web at the bottom of this post with even more ideas for what to do with water beads.

A quick note about safety: These water beads are safe for touching and playing with but NOT for eating. If you have a little one who still puts things in his mouth, then supervise very closely (as I’m sure you would anyway) or save the water beads for when he is older. I’ll include a couple of edible water bead ideas at the end of this post that might be better for children who mouth things…

Where to Buy Water Beads

We have bought water beads from a variety of places over time. I’ve found them in the toy section of a local drugstore for $1.99. Most recently, I’ve bought them through Amazon for a little over a dollar (with free shipping!). Those are the ones you see pictured here.

You can also apparently find them at the Dollar Tree (with a more limited color selection) or at a Michael’s craft store in the floral section (water beads are used as a vase filler).

You can buy a color assortment as you see here, single colors, or clear water beads.

You can buy a little packet like ours (plenty for family fun or a small sensory tub) or you can buy a large packet of water beads (if you wanted to fill a kiddie pool or use them at a party, maybe).


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The Awesome Rainbow Milk Science Experiment

Rainbow Milk Science Experiment - Trying it on the light tableThis rainbow milk science experiment is popular around the web. And for good reason.

Also called milky fireworks, erupting colors, magic milk, tie-dyed milk, and more, this very possibly both the easiest and most amazingly beautiful science experiment out there.

It is so super awesome and kids LOVE it!

Am I going a little over the top? I guess adults love it, too.

We have done this one before. More than once. But it never gets old.

This time we did the milky fireworks on top of our simple DIY light table (simply a clear plastic storage bin from Target with a string of white Christmas lights inside) which added an extra level of beauty to the experiment. It was lovely to see the light shining through the milk, the colors, and the magic!

Ready for the how-to and photos of the beautiful process?

I even embedded a couple of my instagram videos of the magic milk in action, since still photos can’t do it justice.

The Awesome Rainbow Milk Science Experiment


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Circle Art :: An Open Ended Art Activity for Kids

Circle Art - Open Ended Art for KidsThis post should probably be subtitled, Going with the Flow.

Because that’s what can, and often does, happen with open ended art activities for kids.

Here’s an example from the other day when we did a group circle art activity, inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’ book, The Dot.

We started with some circle art that we continued to work on and evolve throughout the day in ways that I couldn’t have predicted. We just went with the flow and it was wonderful.

Do you ever have experiences like that? Where you start an art activity even though you have little idea what you’re doing? Or what it will become?

Art can evolve in interesting ways if you let go of preconceived outcomes, let the kids decide how it will proceed, or to let an art material or tool inspire and influence the course of the activity and the finished product.

Here’s how we did this circle art activity


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Kids Wall Stickers by Pop and Lolli and Sarah Jane

Pop and Lolli Wall Stickers for KidsToday I’m sharing a giveaway and some exciting news from Pop and Lolli, one of my lovely blog sponsors.

Pop and Lolli sells fun kids wall stickers.

Started by Mia, a former Disney Imagineer who grew up in rural South Africa, the company sells beautiful and whimsical wall stickers and wallpaper to bring nature and imagination indoors to children’s spaces. In addition, Mia set up a sister charity to her business and for every purchase made, she donates a portion of the sales to helping kids in need in her home country.

(I was intrigued by her charity,  (It’s) Chic 2 Change, last time I wrote about the Pop and Lolli kids wall decals and this time Mia agreed to answer a few questions about both her background and her charity. You’ll find the interview below.)

But first, let’s hear the NEWS and take a PEEK at some of the amazing wall stickers and wallpaper that Pop and Lolli sells…

The big news is that Pop and Lolli has partnered with Sarah Jane Studios to create a new line of kids wall stickers and wallpaper!

Here are some of the sweet new Sarah Jane wall stickers:… 

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A Pay-What-You-Can SALE on The Artful Year eBooks

The Artful Year eBook Series SALEIt’s been almost a year since I’ve had a pay-what-you-can sale on any of The Artful Year eBooks.

Update: The pay-what-you-can sale is now over. The ebooks will still be available through the end of this month.

When I’ve done this in the past, I received so many comments and e-mails thanking me—saying things like they had really wanted the books but they had just lost a job or were on a teaching salary or just couldn’t afford the full price right then.

So, before The Artful Year eBooks enter their chrysalis stage*, I thought I’d hold one last pay-what-you-can sale on them. If you’ve been eyeing them but couldn’t figure it into your budget, go ahead and grab them now at any price you can afford—even free!

Here’s how the sale works:


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A Marbled Paper Plate Butterfly Craft

Paper Plate Butterflies

We are big fans of butterflies here—both the real deal and the hand crafted.

We raise butterflies from chrysalis to ready-to-fly with this butterfly kit (so exciting to watch the transformation up close!), we are in butterfly siting mode all summer long (and keep butterflies in mind when choosing what to plant in our garden), and we adore visiting the magical butterfly house at the Durham Museum of Life and Sciences.

On the homemade side, both kids like to draw butterflies and we’ve made all kinds of butterfly crafts and art projects over the years (I’ll list some at the end of this post).

Maia and I were even both butterflies for Halloween last year!

Actually, I was a butterfly. Maia was a Luna moth; her (homemade) costume still hangs on our wall…. 

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11 Fun Patriotic Art Projects for Kids

11 Fun Patriotic Art Projects for KidsJuly 4th is almost here and since we like to celebrate any and all holidays with creative projects as much as anything else (yummy food! fireworks!), I thought I’d share some ideas for kid-friendly patriotic art projects. Some of these we’ve done ourselves, many of these brilliant ideas are from other blogs.

First, of all, you know you can turn any favorite art activity into a patriotic one by using red, white, and blue paint (or collage materials, drawing materials, etc), right? Some favorites that would work especially well are:

But here some especially good art projects for the 4th of July (or any other time you might want something extra Patriotic)!

11 Fun Patriotic Art Projects for Kids


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Building a DIY Backyard Playhouse with Fort Magic

Paint Your Own DIY Backyard PlayhouseThe other day, when Maia and Daphne were off adventuring with friends and I had a rare few hours of kid-free time to myself, I cleaned the house from top to bottom I played with their toys.

The Fort Magic kit, specifically.

I put together a DIY backyard playhouse all by myself and enjoyed every minute of it.

(Note: See GIVEAWAY at the end of this post for a chance to win your own Fort Magic kit.)

I built the playhouse over the sandbox with the idea of creating some afternoon shade in what is one of the more popular kid spots in our yard. Maybe even some rain protection as we are getting daily afternoon showers.

I went in with a goal about shaping my children’s outdoor play space so they have:

  • Shade from the harsh afternoon sun
  • Protection from rain (maybe; as you can see from the photo we’re not quite there)
  • A fun playhouse to inspire the kids’ pretend play
  • A partially enclosed kid-size space for a sense of privacy and safety

My other goal was to try out an idea I’ve long had—cover the playhouse with a blank canvas and let the kids paint it.


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Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid Watercolors

Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid WatercolorsWe LOVE shaving cream marbling. Love it. Love any marbling, really, but shaving cream marbling is especially fun (it involves shaving cream, after all) as well as beautiful (the colors are just so vibrant).

We’ve done shaving cream marbling so many times over the years, both on our own and with friends, for no special reason and in order to make handmade gifts. We’ve even done it with a variety of paints.

A couple weeks ago, when Maia was sick and sleeping away most of the day, she even requested a shaving cream marbling session during a brief awake and not-too-feverish period.

When I looked back at my old posts on shaving cream marbling, though, I realized that they were way overdue for an update.

So here you go.

Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid Watercolors

With better photos, added tips for success, and years of experience under our belt…… 

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