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Cloud and Rain Sensory Bin

Water beads are a super fun medium to use in sensory bins for children. They allow children to explore texture and watching them expand in real-time can be a real treat for children! Water beads are quite inexpensive and can be used several times. You can find water beads at your local craft store or online.

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Explore the world of water beads!

This fun sensory bin is a great activity to do indoors on a rainy day. The water beads are a fun component to watch grow once you add in water and can be reused many times! Kids will love to scoop, measure, squish, and roll these water beads over and over in the bins. 

Did you know? Water beads can grow up to 200 times their original size!

🌸Repurpose! Have lots of extra water beads? Throw them in a vase with flowers to keep them hydrated and looking pretty! 

🌎 Reduce, reuse and recycle! All done with the sensory bin? Toss all of your water beads and tools in a strainer with some dish soap to clean and reuse!


For this activity you will need:

Water beads


Various sensory bin tools (cups, spoons, strainers, bowls, funnels etc.)

Shaving cream

Shallow container

Learning Outcomes




Taking Another Person’s Point of View


Engaging in the exchange of ideas and points of view with others


Step 1:

Place various shades of blue and white water beads in your sensory bin (shallow container) and add water according to the directions on the package.

Step 2:

Watch them grow! This could take 30 minutes to several hours. Kids will love checking in and watching them grow!

Step 3:

Add scoops, strainers, bowls, spoons etc. to the bin.

Step 4: 

Add several “clouds” of shaving cream.

Step 5:

Encourage your child to explore the water beads and clouds while using the tools in the bin. If other children are able to join in the activity, encourage them to take turns, share the materials and practice pretend to play with one another. 

⬆️ For older preschoolers: Provide only one bowl, one spoon, one strainer etc. This will encourage the children to take turns and determine how to share the materials in a fair way with one another.

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Model appropriate sharing behavior for younger children by giving them the language they should use to share materials and practice it together!

Playful Questions

What is a fair amount of time that each person should use the shovel?

Would you like to trade the strainer for the funnel?

Should we use the tools together to create a mountain of water beads?

How many water beads fit in your bowl?

What do the water beads feel like in your hands?

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