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Recycled Jars and Water Beads

Recycled Jars and Water Beads - Exploring Quantity Early Years

I am a self confessed keeper of all sorts because there is always a fun way reuse right? Today I want to share with you one of our recent activities where I recycled a bunch of jars in different sizes to work on mathematical concepts using water and water beads. 
I am sharing on our stories on Instagram lots of simply play ideas so make sure you're following us over there too. This week this post went CRAZY over there with lots of people saying they were going to try it out too.

Currently I have 2 children in Early Years and a child in year 2. I really like this age gap as they're  not too far apart in age to be able to do the same activity with the children but offer different challenges for their learning.

I started by soaking the labels off the jars. I usually leave them to soak overnight in warm water and when I get up the tables fall off them. I had a few messages when I shared this in our Facebook Group recommending to fill the jars of hot water from a kettle to melt the glue along with using various oils to get them off.

I was honestly really impressed with all the lovely creativity that people shared on fun ways they recycle their jars too. There was pencil jar holders that were painted like fruits, storage solutions for crafts and dried foods. So many people finding ways to store and reuse that avoids using plastic - which is great.

Recycled Jars and Water Beads - Exploring Quantity Early Years

This set up was super simple. I soaked some water beads over nights so they were ready to use the following day. I got out the mirror tuff tray which was from Early Years Resources and our white tray that I purchased from Home Sense. I filled them with water and placed jars in the tray that contained water beads. I filled them with different quantities some were empty, half full and full.

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Recycled Jars and Water Beads - Exploring Quantity Early Years

I wanted to explore these concepts with the boys. What does full, half full and empty look like.

With my 7 year old I wanted to explore prediction. Which jar was capable of holding the most water beads and how could we test this out?

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Rainbow Foam Recipe

Recycled Jars and Water Beads - Exploring Quantity Early Years

I added the little challenges as were were all happily playing alongside one another. My favourite sort of learning. Hands on and through discovery and doing.

Lets see this activity in action:

I also added cake cases and pipettes. Last time we looked at using the pippettes the boys found it very difficult to use them. During this activity they mastered them right away. Filling up the containers with a small pipette requires patience. They explored ways they could fill them up quicker.

As we had the mirror liner inside the tray the came across the coloured reflections that bounced from the tray onto their clothing and arms from the water beads sitting in the water. I captured some of this in the video above. Mirrors are a great addition to play as it gives children another perspective to explore.

Recycled Jars and Water Beads - Exploring Quantity Early Years

Lots of filling and emptying which young children love doing so much. Filling and emptying is great for building fine motor control. To pick up containers to tip up and empty really gets their tiny hands and fingers working. It requires different grasps to achieve their intention. To successfully pour into another container it requires control, accuracy and good hand-eye co-ordination which comes along as they practice.

It gives them the opportunity to explore cause and effect and problem solving. To focus on these skills takes concentration so simply filling and emptying activities can keep children occupied for quite some time.

Recycled Jars and Water Beads - Exploring Quantity Early Years

It was lots of fun! We really enjoy playing with water beads. We have found lots of fun ways to play and learn with them.

Remember to come and see us on Instagram too for simple play ideas.

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See all our activities in action via our channel. We throw in a little family life too so you may just find out a little more about the family behind Learning an Exploring Through Play.

Do you live in the UK? Are you always on the look out for new, fun places to visit? We would love you to be apart of our outdoor exploring group. Come and share your own ideas or be inspired to get outdoors by others.

Other posts to check out on Learning and Exploring Through Play:

I love you to pieces Suncatcher Card    Melted Snowman Family    Rainbow Streamer Craft

Recycled Valentines Crafts for Preschoolers    Recycled Valentines Crafts for Preschoolers    Sensory Winter Play for Preschoolers

Mark Making with Kinetic Sand    Plastic Easter Egg Art Ideas    Space Themed Sensory Play Small World

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