Sorting the Queen's Jewels (Exploring Water Beads)

After seeing so many amazing posts on other blogs using water beads, I knew we had to try them out! We bought ours from here & were amazed at the size of them when they arrived, they looked like a selection of colourful seeds.

 We followed the instructions & soaked them in water for nine hours. Minnie was fascinated by them, & repeatedly had her hand in the jar exploring the texture & expanding size of the beads. After just an hour they had grown to this size! 

After nine hours they were ready for us to use. As part of our Jubilee theme this week we thought we'd explore the Queens's treasures so we turned our water beads into the Queen's jewels! I found an old jewelry box (that I'd picked up years ago from a charity shop) & filled it with the water beads ready for Minnie to find.

Alongside the box of jewels I placed glass containers & spoons of differing sizes, with a white dish & large box, which would display the colours of the beads clearly. To say my daughter was excited would be an understatement! She was shrieking with delight when I explained that the Queen had left her jewels here for her to explore! Almost immediately she was scooping them into the largest container with the biggest spoon available!

She soon discovered just how bouncy & how quickly these colourful balls roll! She took great care moving them from container to container, demonstrating her hand eye co-ordination & patience too!

The colours in the sunshine were just beautiful!

Once all the 'jewels' were added to the larger container Minnie spent ages rolling her hands around in them & pouring them over her fingers. She clearly loved this sensory experience, & watching the beads as they gently bounced around the box.

She was keen to sort the beads & collected the nearby containers (& more) before colour sorting the jewels. We found the larger containers were better for this as they prevented the beads from bouncing & flying over the sides.

Once she had colour sorted the jewels she poured them into smaller dishes. This gave us a great opportunity to compare quantities, size, colour, shade, & predict which dish contained more/less jewels. It was also a neat way to introduce the names of real gemstones.

After the jewels were sorted the Queen popped by just to check on her collection!

She was especially pleased to discover all her diamonds!

After the Queen's visit Minnie was keen to mix the jewels again, & poured each coloured set into a larger bowl before mixing, & mixing with a spoon!

The jewels were then poured once more into smaller dishes, one for each of her toys!

She has recently sorted the jewels again, & made 'dinner' with them for the Queen! We've just added the beads to our water tray with a little more water, as she is very keen to keep the water beads just as they are "forever!"

If you fancy sorting the Queen's jewels but don't have any water beads, how about using buttons, plastic/wooden beads, small stones, or shells. Great for encouraging fine motor skills, co-ordination, as well as exploring colour, number, size, & imagination!