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  1. I feel like some commenters worrying about children under three choking on these may not be familiar with tapioca pearls, and/or may in fact think these are just another type of “water bead.”

    Tapioca pearls are food. When cooked they are soft and squishy and a bit slimy. They can be chewed before being swallowed, but sometimes when used in bubble teas, mine go right down with the drink. They are small and slippery. And when they are done growing, they are done growing.

    Actual water beads may continue to grow when eaten because they encounter new water sources. This makes them not only the obvious choking hazard, but also a bowel obstruction hazard, an ear hazard, a sinus hazard (depending on what size the beads are when the child decides to place them somewhere in their body.)

    Tapioca doesn’t do that. If your child can not eat a piece of bread yet, avoid this for now. But if they are managing bread (which turns dense, spongy and slimy in the mouth), they should be able to manage tapioca pearls.

    1. Angela Thayer says:

      Thank you for explaining this so well! I completely agree!

  2. Never saw these b4. They are so cool. Can you put them in plants? What about using as iced balls if frozen? The barley ones? How do you use them in crafting?

    1. Angela Thayer says:

      These are tapioca pearls, so they are technically food. I haven’t tried freezing them, but that might work! I would not recommend putting them in plants or using them for crafting.

  3. thank you so much for that idea

  4. I understand the water beads are NOT to be thrown down the sink as they swell and cause plumbing problems. I would really caution their use with toddlers or other kids that might want to experiment tasting them. They would swell in them also I would think? It’s such an awesome tactile activity I just can’t justify it.
    Correct me if I’m wrong. The tapioca beads is the only way I would go.

    1. Angela Thayer says:

      Yes, I agree that using the tapioca beads is the best way. I know that water beads swell, but they do stop growing at a certain point. If there are children playing with them and there’s any chance they would put something in their mouths, then I would use tapioca pearls. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Great site, love the content. My kids love to play with these, thanks for sharing.

  6. I am buying for a couple of children I watch daily through the week. I thought this would be a great unit on colors and textures and such. How cost-efficient is this activity? I hate to create some ideas if these are going to be expensive to make. Do they last for possibly 4-5 days? Thank you btw for posting the fun that your little one had! And for posting the instructions! Have a blessed day!

    1. Angela Thayer says:

      That is a fun idea! Well, the tapioca beads cost $5 a bag. I would recommend getting a couple bags if you have several children exploring them. You also need food coloring. I used gel food coloring, which is more expensive. We just used the beads for 1 day because they started to lose their shape. So I’m not sure if they would last 4-5 days. If you kept them in water, they probably would. Sorry I’m not much help!

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