Over Spring Break, I finally got to do a couple of activities that I'd been wanting to try for awhile. The first thing we tried were sensory beads. I'd seen lots of activities using sensory beads, but they all involved some not-so-great chemicals or Borax. I wanted some that weren't super icky if they were accidentally swallowed. (Seriously it's like fighting an octopus sometimes.)
Here's the recipe I followed, but I changed a few things. First of all, I used food coloring that's natural. I'd been wanting to get some for awhile, but this gave me an excuse for getting some already. I got the pearls they recommended, but they are NOT as bright as they acted like. They said they're bright already, but they're not really. They have a few that stand out as a particular color, but most of them are just cloudy clear.
I followed their directions for boiling the beads and for soaking them in dye. I think the colors turned out pretty nicely.
Since I didn't use gel food coloring, I can't say how the color would last on the beads. With the coloring I used, they lasted pretty well throughout our play. You can see that the water got cloudy as the dye washed off some. Their article said that their beads stayed for a couple of days, but ours did not. I saved them in a little water like they said, but they basically turned a muddled color as they sat.
For the overall cost for this, though, I don't care that they didn't last more than the one play session. He had a great time with them! They were so slippery and slimy that he concentrated a lot on trying to pick them up. The container you see is the lid to a cupcake/cake carrier. I really loved the little middle bit because he kept making a train of beads and pushing them through. I definitely recommend getting creative with the container so that it adds to the play session.
Let me know if you try this and how your brain play goes!