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Water bead Easter Eggs - A great candy-free alternative for the Easter basket this year.

Creative Play Easter Basket Idea: Water Bead Eggs

Aren’t these water bead eggs cool?  They were unbelievably easy and inexpensive to pull together and I think the kids are going to get such a kick out of opening them up and playing with the contents on Easter.
UPDATE: check out how my kiddos played with these after cracking them open here.



If you’re not familiar with water beads, they come in little plastic packets that fit in the palm of your hand.  Each “bead” is a teeny tiny ball which, when soaked in water overnight, grows to about the size of a marble.  They have a jelly like consistency and are very cool for sensory play. Of course, it should be noted that due to their size they can be a choking hazard so please never leave them alone in the presence of small children who might be tempted to eat them.  The best part is they’re non-toxic and can be used again and again.


If you’d like to get your hands on some, they go by lots of different names (water beads, water gels, jelly ball soil) but are usually available in craft stores.  I think their intended purpose is for use in vases to keep flowers hydrated.


You can get an 8 pack here for just over $4.50 including shipping.  I bought two 8 packs and the photo above is only about 40% of the beads I received.  Since half the fun is watching them grow and the other half is playing with them, I plan to put some full size beads as well as some that aren’t yet hydrated into the kids’ baskets.


Water bead eggs - a great candy-free alternative for the Easter basket that kids will flip for!

For the eggs, I hit up Fred Meyer and found these translucent glittery guys.  They were also pretty cheap at $1.99 a pack.

Water bead eggs - a candy-free Easter basket idea kids will love!

Then it was just a matter of soaking the beads overnight and color sorting the next morning.

Water bead eggs - a candy-free Easter basket idea kids will love.

Although that step isn’t really necessary, they look pretty cool all mixed together too.

Easter morning we’ll crack them open and dump them in a bowl or bin of some sort.


The eggs themselves will be great to use for scooping.



And when we’re all done we’ll stow them away for another day.  Apparently the beads last for several weeks before needing to be re-soaked.


I’m so excited about these eggs that I’m going to let them be the star of this year’s creative play Easter baskets.  The only thing I plan on adding are a few play dough eggs I also picked up at Freddy’s.  How about you, up for trying it?

UPDATE: Check out how our eggs went over with the kids here!



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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin March 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Love it! I’ve been looking for some good non-candy Easter basket ideas. And I had been wanting to try water beads. Win-win! Just ordered some!


Marci March 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I love the first picture of the water beads sorted by colour, so pretty looking.


The MOB March 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Very cool. Much better than candy filled eggs. So far (O is 3.5) we have just left our eggs empty in lieu of having treat filled eggs, but this would be a fun alternative!


The Triplett Family March 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

We love water beads! They’re a great sensory activity but brace yourself because one of the funnest parts (at least for my little boy) is squishing them until they brake apart. :(


Kim March 26, 2012 at 7:31 pm

How fun! I just pinned this :)


Anonymous March 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Thanks for mentioning the choking hazard! It’s also important to note, if you have a child who puts things in their mouth the keep the beads far out of reach even before they’re hydrated. There have been cases of babies eating the tiny beads before soaking them, and they’ve expanded in the baby’s stomach, cause serious problems.
That being said, I love water beads, and this looks like a great idea!


Anonymous March 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

just saying, when i was little, if there wasn’t candy, i didn’t like it, but it’s cute for decoration :)


willowday March 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Cute! I found you on Design Mom! It’s such a candy season, it’s a gem to find a non-edible! Lovely! I’ll be back.
Gina at willowday


emsb April 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Another good non-candy Easter basket item….those little seed growing trays…that come with seeds to plant. You can get smallish ones that will fit into an Easter basket…marigolds, beans, zinnias…various choices. Or just give some Jiffy pots and a small package of potting soil and some seed packets…Fun project and not candy!


Katy April 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm

If you have a Tuesday Morning store near by I have found packets of these for less than 50 cents a pop. I think you get around 5 cups of beads (after you add the water) per packet.


Jenn @ My Not So Glamorous Life April 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I had actually bought some of these too for our Easter celebration! I picked up a few packs at the 99cent store and they were a huge hit with the kids!!


steph January 19, 2013 at 11:16 am

My little boy loves the water beads and they are so cheap he just plays with a big container full and sometimes we throw some in the bath with him. But for his birthday we filled the bath and soaked them the day before so the whole bath was just water balls so he could just swim around in them, he loved it :)


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Michelle March 5, 2015 at 2:30 am

I got for my kids and they just LOVE IT. They can spend hours and hours playing with it. I bought it from an online store fairyeggs.com and it arrived in 3 days.


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