DIY sensory activities: tapioca water beads

Making edible water beads is a fun sensory activity for the kids! These balls are squishy and sticky and can help a child develop their motor skills!

Make your own edible water beads to squish and squelch!

Making edible water beads is sure to be a fun sensory activity for the kids. These balls can be squishy or sticky depending on whether they are in water or kept dry, giving kids two different experiences to compare.

This activity can also help a child develop their motor skills through scooping, squeezing, and pinching the beads!

Video content description: recipe video demonstrating how to make tapioca water balls.

What you will need

  • Tapioca pearls (Boba – see our tips and tricks for advice on where to find these)
  • Water
  • Pot
  • Stove
  • Strainer
  • Container for play

What to do

Step 1: Bring 5 cups of water to the boil

Step 2: Add ½ cup of tapioca pearls

Step 3: Cook tapioca pearls in a covered pot until they are floating and tender (It’s best to follow the specific instructions on your packet as brands can differ).

Step 4: Drain and cool completely

Step 5: Put beads in a shallow container with a small amount of water

Step 6: Squelch!

Tips and tricks

Tip 1: Tapioca pearls, also called boba pearls, and are often used in a milky drink called bubble tea! You can find tapioca pearls in many Asian supermarkets, or online.

Tip 2: Once you are done playing, you can store the beads in a container of water in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Tip 3: To make the beads bright colours, try adding a couple of drops of food colouring to the cooked pearls, and let them sit for half an hour before rinsing.

Tip 4: For a different sensory experience, try the balls without water for a sticky feel.

Tip 5: If your child does not like the texture, try putting the beads in a sandwich bag instead which gives a different sensory experience.

Tip 6: Tapioca balls are edible, however we always recommend supervising small children.