I can't remember anymore exactly where I saw this idea... I think it was on one of the teacher Instagram accounts I follow. I apologize for not giving proper credit.
Supplies: water beads, marble run set
I made the water beads overnight. They take about eight hours to expand completely. They were all ready to go this afternoon when Peanut went down for his nap. (These will never be out when Peanut is awake - he is way too little to understand that he can't eat them!)
Monkey was so excited. He really loves his marble run set so this was a perfect play invitation for him. He started by building the marble run, which is a pretty big challenge for him. He usually needs help making sure all the drops are lined up properly.
Whenever he does his marble run I encourage him to test it after every couple of pieces he puts on.
Soon he had a tall tower that worked from top to bottom.
Monkey isn't a huge fan of trying to pick up the water beads with his hands, so he used a gravy spoon to scoop them up and drop them in the marble run.
This turned into a bit of a problem solving activity for Monkey. There were a few spots in the marble run where the water beads kept getting stuck and stopping. With my help, he made some adjustments, took some of the pieces out and ended up with a tower that only got stuck in one place, and Monkey seemed happy with that.
The water beads last for quite a long time, so once Monkey is done using them with his marble run, we can find another way for him to play with them. If they start to dry out a bit, I'll just add some more water to the bin.