Orbeez, or water beads are a lot of fun and are perfect for making super easy sensory excavation experiences. What you may not know is that there are giant water beads that grow the size of a racquetball!

Simply soak these fun super absorbent polymers in water and they grow many times their original size. You can then put them in a tray with some fun toys inside for your young Excavating Adventurer to discover and find.



Pack of giant water beads. You can find a container with several hundred giant water beads online for around five bucks and they are worth every penny in my book!

Large bowl


Items to excavate – I like to use themes for Giant Orbeez Excavations. For instance, add a blue bath color tab (I try to avoid food coloring because it can dye skin and cloths) and add little plastic ocean or polar animals to make an ocean or Arctic theme.


If you love water beads and super absorbent polymers, then check out our Excavating Adventures Extreme kit called Exciting Earth. Not only if this kit loaded with 10 unique and hard to find rocks and minerals, but the excavation activity uses super absorbent spheres and giant water beads!


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Cut the top off of a 2 liter plastic soda bottle. Use tape around the edges to protect against any cuts or scraps. Fill the bottle with giant water beads and clear water. Do not color the water for this excavation activity. Once the giant water beads have grown to their full size, drain off any excess water. Now reach down into the giant water beads and place excavation items at different levels. Your Excavating Adventurer will not be able to see the items. Encourage them to reach down into the giant water beads to retrieve the items. They will love the strange feeling!

Now for even more fun… Return the excavation items back into the two liter bottle. You still should not be able to easily see the items. Now, carefully pour clear water into the 2 liter bottle. The items will magically appear suspended at different levels in the bottle!



  1. Feel the bowl with giant water beads. Remember these things are going to get big so do your best to judge the correct amount.
  2. Fill the bowl with water. Optional – Add bath color tabs.
  3. Wait until the giant water beads have grown to their full size. The packaging will have a general time frame but expect to have to wait about 24 hours.
  4. Drain off any excess water.
  5. Hide the items in the giant water beads.
  6. Let your Excavating Adventurer reach in and start discovering the awesome goodies you have hidden inside.


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: One of my favorite items to add to an excavation are tumbled gemstones. The smooth surface of tumbled stones lend themselves well to this sensory activity.


If you love tumbled stones like we do, be sure to check out our Gemstone Journey Extreme excavation kit. This kit is loaded with real emeralds, rubies, amethyst, and beautifully tumbled Tiger’s Eye! You can even earn a Gemstone Journey kit for free


The Giant Water Bead Excavation is a great sensory activity for young Excavating Adventures. Most people know about Orbeez and water beads, but be the first to show your littles ones these giant water beads!