Playing with Tapioca Pearls has been on our to do list for some time. Adam loves using water beads as part of his sensory play and I love their many uses – from developing fine motor skills to a small world base. However, as water beads are polymer beads that absorb water they are not edible and are therefore not suitable for very young children. We have tried playing with basil seeds, a taste safe alternative, but found that when the basil seeds dried out they stuck to everything. So the opportunity came to represent the letter T in the Alphabet Sensory Series hosted by The Jenny Evolution it was our chance to try out Tapioca Pearl sensory play. I wanted to see how tapioca pearls stood up as an edible version of water beads.
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We purchased 250G of Tapioca Pearls from Amazon, although they are also available from Asian markets. We first explored the Tapioca Pearls straight from the packet. I set up the Marble Run in our blue Tuff Spot and Adam had a wonderful time dropping the pearls down the shoot one at a time. The tapioca pearls felt like soft marbles. I had planned that we would cook our pearls immediately but Adam loved this set up so much he played with them all week.
It was a straight forward process to cook the Tapoica Pearls. They only took 5 minutes on the heat and a further 5 minutes simmering. I drained away the boiling water and stored them in cold water until we were ready to play. I knew the pearls would be too big to fit in our marble run so I set up Adam’s Pour and Play Water Run from Early Learning Centre and Ball Drop.
Unfortunately this was a fail. The pearls were too sticky to roll and just stuck to the plastic. Adam attempted to push them down the ball drop but they wouldn’t move easily.
So I quickly changed the activity to focus on fine motor skills. I poured the Taporica Pearls into our green leaf tray from Tiger UK and added our Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set, scoopers and a Jumbo Tweezer.
Adam soon got over his disappointment and loved getting to grips with the Handy Scooper. Due to the pearls being tacky to the touch, they didn’t move around the tray easily so Adam was able to scoop them up and empty the pearls into a pot.
Overall, Adam wasn’t too keen on the Tapioca Pearls. He didn’t enjoy their texture or the fact they were too sticky and wouldn’t roll. The pearls were slightly easier to manipulate with the fine motor tools compared to the water beads but we didn’t find them as versatile. Cost wise the Tapioca Pearls were more expensive and they didn’t last very long. Although Tapioca Pearls would be great for younger children who are still in the mouthing stage, I think we shall stick to water bead play in the future.
* Tuff Spot (optional)
Check out the other 25 fantastic bloggers who are sharing their Alphabet Sensory Activities. From sensory bins, sensory bottles, gross motor skills, craft or fine motor activities there is something for everyone!
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