We have been having so much fun with our ocean theme lately, and there is really a lot to do that revolves around this theme. We have also been tying some of our activities or crafts with our Australia Day fun, learning about ocean life, our beaches and of course enjoying that it is Summer here. 
So many of our crafts and activities, while still fun and engaging for Chloe, are more geared towards Noah’s age {4/5 years old} than hers {not yet 2}. So one of the activities I wanted to make sure we did was an ocean sensory tub. 
Of course that involved water. And plastic fish. :o}
Simple. Easy. Engaging.
The kids had a ball!
But I also wanted something they could do inside. It’s seriously hot around here some days and just way too hot to be outside a lot of the time. And then I remembered an awesome idea friends of ours used at their kiddo’s recent birthday party – they wanted a lucky dip sort of game at their Safari themed party but the thought of the kids sticking their hands in a bucket of mud to find a small safari animal wasn’t exactly the kind of mess they wanted to clean up! And so they bought a heap of water beads and filled a tub with them. They worked perfectly for the lucky dip – and no mess! Perfect! So when we were out at the markets I bought 2 small packets from a stall.
How seriously cool do these look!?
They come looking like tapioca pearl {slightly bigger}. I followed the directions on the packet and soaked them in bucket with a lot of water for about 8 hours. They get a lot bigger as they absorb A LOT of water. When they were ready, I drained them of the excess water and placed them in a tub. {this is the shallowest of the Ikea trofast tubs}. I bought a pack of blue water beads and a pack of clear water beads and mixed them.
I popped in some ocean related things {their plastic fish and sharks etc, a resin starfish, and some real sea shells} and the kids really had a ball with this. 
I also removed all the things from the water beads just so the kids could play with them freely. It really is a fun sensory experience. They are cold and a little wet to the touch. Slippery and smooth. Kind of hard to describe.
I intended to let the kids play with these for a few weeks {they last up to 6 weeks without needing to be re-soaked} and then dehydrate them by just leaving them to dry and not adding more water so that we can re-use them another time … but they are a little delicate and do break easily into bits and pieces. So I am not sure there is going to be a lot to save at the end of it, which is ok. The water beads set me back $10 for the two packets, and I think for all the fun they’re having day in and day out with them, it’s ok if I don’t get to re-use them another time.

* I forgot to mention that these water beads are non-toxic and also biodegradable! :o}

All in all I think these two tubs have been quite a success over here for both the kids. 
:o} We just migrate the fish outside to the water tub when it’s not too hot to be out there, and migrate them back in to the water beads when we come back inside. The fish also make it into the bath and the shower and have been swimming in the rainbow rice, too. Such busy fish!!