What are Orbeez (The Incredible Guide to Water Beads)

What are Orbeez (The Incredible Guide to Water Beads)

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Hey peeps. Today we’re gonna talk about Orbeez.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What the heck is an Orbeez?” Well, let me tell you, they’re these tiny, squishy balls that come in all sorts of vibrant colors.

They look like little jelly beans but don’t you dare try to eat them because they’re not candy, and are more like a hipster version of water beads.

You know those little gel balls that you soak in water and then they expand into these slippery, slimy, bouncy balls that you can’t stop playing with? Yeah, that’s Orbeez, but way better! They’re not slimy or gross, they’re just super fun to play with and they make you feel like a kid again.

I remember the first time I saw Orbeez, I was like “What is this sorcery?” I couldn’t believe how something so small could be so darn entertaining.

I mean, I could sit there for hours just squishing them between my fingers, watching them bounce around, loading them into an Orbeez gun, and feeling like a kid again.

If you have made it this far, here is all the new information you will be getting in this guide.

  • Origin of Orbeez
  • What are Orbeez Made of
  • The main Ingredients of Orbeez
  • What are Orbeez used for
  • Are Orbeez Eco-Friendly
  • Are Orbeez safe to Play with

So let’s get started!

Origin of Orbeez – Where did they Come From?

Origin of Orbeez – Where did they Come From?

You may be wondering where these squishy little balls of joy came from, and let me tell you, it all started with the creative minds over at Maya Toys.

Maya Toys, based in sunny California, has been a leader in the toy industry since 1992. But it wasn’t until 2009 that they came up with the idea for Orbeez, and boy, are we glad they did! These colorful, bouncy balls have become a household name, beloved by kids and adults alike.

It’s crazy to think that Orbeez have been around for over a decade, but they didn’t really take off until a few years ago.

In 2018, it seemed like everyone was talking about Orbeez, and it’s not hard to see why. These little guys are perfect for sensory play, stress relief, and even just for some good old-fashioned fun.

And get this, the Maya Group Corporation later sold the product to Spin Master, a company that’s known for creating some of the coolest toys around. So not only are Orbeez super cool, but they’re also backed by some seriously innovative toy makers.

You can also read more about the origin of Orbeez at When Did Orbeez Come Out.

What are Orbeez Made of?

I have always been fascinated by the colorful, squishy, and bouncy Orbeez that seem to be everywhere these days. From sensory play and DIY projects to spa treatments and decorative accents, these tiny water-absorbing beads have taken the world by storm.

But have you ever wondered what Orbeez are actually made of?

As someone who loves learning about the science and chemistry behind everyday objects, I decided to do some digging and find out.

As I delved deeper, I discovered that Orbeez are actually made of a super absorbent polymer called sodium polyacrylate. This material has the incredible ability to absorb up to 300 times its own weight in water, which is what makes Orbeez expand and turn into the fun, bouncy balls we all love.

But it’s not just the science that makes Orbeez so intriguing – it’s the sensory experience they provide. There’s something magical about sinking your hands into a pile of Orbeez, feeling them squish and squirm between your fingers, and watching as they change texture and size when you add water.

How do Orbeez Work?

As discussed earlier, Orbeez are made from superabsorbent polymer, which absorbs the water and swells up, growing to many times its original size.

Polymer is made up of long chains of molecules that are able to hold onto water. When these chains come into contact with water, they start to unravel and stretch out, allowing them to absorb more and more water.

As more water is absorbed, the spaces between the molecules get larger and the polymer swells up, causing the Orbeez to grow in size.

The process is possible because the polymer has lots of tiny spaces between its molecules where water molecules can fit in.

What is Super Absorbent Polymer Inside Orbeez?

Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) is a type of water-absorbing polymer that has the ability to absorb and retain a large amount of water or other aqueous solutions relative to its own mass.

SAPs are commonly used in a variety of applications where water absorption is required, such as in disposable diapers, agricultural products, medical dressings, and personal care products.

SAPs are created through a process called polymerization, in which monomers (small molecules) are chemically bonded together to form long chains of polymers.

The resulting polymer chains have the ability to absorb water due to the presence of functional groups, such as carboxyl, hydroxyl, or sulfonate, which can form hydrogen bonds with water molecules.

When SAPs come into contact with water, the functional groups on the polymer chains attract water molecules and cause them to swell. As the polymer chains continue to absorb water, they expand in size and become a gel-like substance.

The absorbed water is then retained within the polymer matrix due to the presence of ionic or covalent bonds between the functional groups and the water molecules.

Overall, Super Absorbent Polymers are an important class of materials with a wide range of applications. Their ability to absorb and retain water makes them useful in many industries and helps to improve the performance and functionality of various products.

You May Also Like: How to Make Orbeez Grow Faster

What are the Main Ingredients of Orbeez?

The ingredients of Orbeez are a fascinating combination of polymers, chemicals, and water. Together, they create a toy that is both fun and safe for children to play with. 

Here is an overview of each of them.

  • Polyacrylamide: It is a substance that is commonly used in a variety of industries, including agriculture, wastewater treatment, and paper production. In the case of Orbeez, polyacrylamide is used to create tiny beads that expand when exposed to water. When dry, the polyacrylamide is in a powder form, but when mixed with water, it absorbs the water and swells up to form the small, colorful beads that we know as Orbeez.
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol: The ingredient is a water-soluble synthetic polymer that is often used in adhesives, coatings, and films. In the case of Orbeez, polyvinyl alcohol is used as a binding agent to help the polyacrylamide beads stick together and form the larger mass of Orbeez. This ingredient helps to create the squishy, gel-like texture that Orbeez are known for.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: It is an alkaline compound that is often used in industrial and manufacturing processes. In the case of Orbeez, sodium hydroxide is used to adjust the pH of the water used to create the beads. This is necessary to ensure that the polyacrylamide can absorb the water and form the beads properly.
  • Color Pigments: These are added to Orbeez to give them their bright, vibrant colors. The color pigments are mixed with the other ingredients before the Orbeez are formed to ensure that the beads are evenly colored.

Orbeez are a unique and popular toy that is loved by people of all ages. And by understanding the science behind Orbeez, we all can truly appreciate the complexity and ingenuity that goes into creating a simple, yet delightful toy.

Whether you are using them for sensory play, decoration, or just for fun, Orbeez are a fascinating and enjoyable addition to any playroom or household.

Why are Orbeez Called Orbeez?

Why are Orbeez Called Orbeez?

The name Orbeez actually comes from the word “orb”, which means a spherical object or a globe. And let’s be real, Orbeez definitely have a spherical shape!

The creators of this delightful toy wanted a name that was catchy, fun, and easy to remember, and thus Orbeez were born.

But that’s not all! The name Orbeez also reflects the endless possibilities and creative potential of this fun toy.

With Orbeez, you can create your own little world, whether you’re using them for sensory play, spa treatments, decor, or just good old-fashioned fun.

What are Orbeez Used For?

Now that we’ve covered the history of these little balls of joy, let’s talk about what you can actually do with them. Trust me, there’s more to Orbeez than just squishing them between your fingers (although that’s always a good time too).

From spa treatments to stress balls, Orbeez have a surprising number of uses.

  • Decorative Uses – That’s right, Orbeez aren’t just for playing with, they can also be used to create some seriously cool decor. Whether you fill a vase with them, use them as a centerpiece, or create a colorful garland, Orbeez can add a fun pop of color to any room.
  • Therapy and Spa Treatments – Orbeez have become a popular addition to sensory rooms and occupational therapy sessions, thanks to their calming and relaxing properties. They’re also used in spas for massages and foot soaks, providing a unique and soothing experience.
  • Orbeez Guns – If you’re looking for a more active way to use Orbeez, why not try an Orbeez gun? These toys shoot Orbeez pellets and are perfect for outdoor play or a friendly battle with friends. Just be sure to clean up the Orbeez afterwards!
  • Orbeez Stress Balls – It’s no secret that Orbeez are incredibly satisfying to squish, making them the perfect material for a stress ball. Simply fill a balloon with Orbeez, tie it off, and voila! You now have a squishy stress ball to help you relax during a tough day.

So there you have it, folks. From decor to therapy to toys, Orbeez are a versatile and entertaining addition to any lifestyle. So go ahead, get creative, and see what you can come up with!

But that’s not it, here are four more ways regarding what are Orbeez used for.

So, What Can Orbeez Absorb?

Ah, the age-old question: what will Orbeez absorb?

Well, my curious friends, the answer is quite simple: water! Orbeez are designed to absorb water and grow to many times their original size, creating those bouncy, squishy balls we all know and love.

But water isn’t the only liquid that Orbeez can absorb. Root beer and vinegar, for example, can also be used to grow Orbeez.

However, it’s worth noting that some liquids, like milk or oil, are not recommended for growing Orbeez. If you try to grow Orbeez in milk, you may find that they become sticky and brittle, which is not a desirable outcome.

So there you have it, folks. Orbeez are water-absorbing champions, and while they can absorb some other liquids like root beer, it’s best to stick with good old H2O for optimal growth and fun.

Are Orbeez Eco-Friendly?

Are Orbeez Eco-Friendly?

When it comes to eco-friendliness, Orbeez has become a topic of debate.

On the one hand, these tiny water-absorbing beads are made of super absorbent polymers that can technically degrade over time, making them 100% biodegradable in theory. However, the reality is not quite as simple.

While it’s true that Orbeez can biodegrade, the process can take a long time and may not happen under certain conditions. Additionally, the degradation of the superabsorbent polymers that make up Orbeez can release potentially harmful chemicals into the environment, which could have negative effects on ecosystems.

Personally, I believe it’s important to consider both the potential benefits and drawbacks of using Orbeez.

While they may seem like fun and harmless toy, their impact on the environment should not be overlooked. If you do choose to use Orbeez, it’s important to dispose of them properly and not release them into the environment.

Also See: Are Orbeez Biodegradable

What are Orbeez Toys?

Orbeez toys are basically any kind of gadget or game that uses those squishy little water beads we all know and love.

Think Orbeez guns, which shoot Orbeez pellets and are perfect for outdoor play or a friendly battle with your pals. Or Orbeez stress balls, which are just as satisfying to squish as they sound, and can help you relax during a tough day.

But Orbeez toys aren’t just limited to those two examples. There are all kinds of creative ways to incorporate Orbeez into playtime, from sensory bins to DIY crafts. The possibilities are endless!

How Long Does It Take for Orbeez to Biodegrade?

How Long Does It Take for Orbeez to Biodegrade?

When it comes to biodegradability, Orbeez can take varying amounts of time to break down depending on the environment in which they are used.

In general, Orbeez that are disposed of in landfills can take up to 2-3 years to decompose completely. This is because landfills are designed to minimize decomposition and preserve waste for as long as possible.

On the other hand, Orbeez that are disposed of in compost or other organic waste systems can break down much faster. In ideal conditions, such as in a commercial composting facility, Orbeez can fully biodegrade in as little as 3 months.

However, it’s important to note that not all composting facilities accept Orbeez, so it’s important to check with your local waste management provider before disposing of them in this way.

I have also written about the various as to how to dispose of Orbeez in case you are planning to do so.

What Will Happen When an Orbeez is Broken?

Contrary to popular belief, bursting an Orbeez bead will not result in a leakage of the water it has absorbed. This is because the polymer used to make Orbeez have water-retaining properties that prevent any water from spilling out.

Instead, when an Orbeez bead bursts or breaks, it will simply disintegrate into small bits and pieces.

It’s worth noting that even if Orbeez burst, they are not toxic to the skin. In fact, they will have a hard gel-type texture that can be easily cleaned up. However, it’s still recommended to keep Orbeez away from the mouth, as ingestion can lead to choking and other digestive issues.

Are Orbeez Toxic to Consume?

Are Orbeez Toxic to Consume?

While Orbeez may look enticing to curious children, many parents and caregivers wonder if they are safe to handle and play with.

The good news is that Orbeez are generally considered safe and non-toxic.

The polymer material used to make Orbeez is considered food-grade and has been tested for safety. In fact, Orbeez have even been used in some medical applications, such as providing cushioning for sensitive medical equipment.

However, it is important to note that Orbeez can pose a choking hazard if swallowed, especially for young children.

If ingested, Orbeez can expand in the stomach and cause blockages or other digestive issues. Therefore, it is important to keep Orbeez away from young children who may be prone to putting objects in their mouths.

Also See: Can Orbeez Kill You

Are Orbeez Safe for Pets to Play With?

Orbeez are generally considered safe for pets as long as they are not ingested.

If ingested, Orbeez can pose a choking hazard or cause digestive problems or blockages, which can be very dangerous and potentially life-threatening for pets.

Additionally, some Orbeez may contain chemicals or additives that could be harmful to pets if ingested.

If you do choose to use Orbeez in your home, make sure to store them in a secure container or area where pets cannot access them. And if you notice that your pet has ingested Orbeez or is showing signs of illness or distress, contact your veterinarian right away.

Is it Safe to Put Orbeez in Compost?

Unfortunately, Orbeez take a really long time to break down and turn into soil, which is what compost is made of. Because of this, it’s not a good idea to add Orbeez to your compost.

But, there is a way you can still use your Orbeez to help with your compost. Compost needs moisture to break down properly, and Orbeez are actually great at holding onto water.

So, you could add a layer of Orbeez to your compost bin to help keep the contents moist and provide the moisture needed for the composting process.

Just remember, don’t add too many Orbeez, and don’t expect them to break down into soil like the other contents of your compost bin. They’re just there to help with the moisture!


Orbeez are made of a superabsorbent polymer called sodium polyacrylate that retains water and makes these squishy balls expand. While Orbeez themselves may not be harmful to the environment, their disposal can pose a problem if not done properly.

Due to their small size, they can easily be ingested by wildlife or enter the water supply, potentially causing harm to animals or disrupting the ecosystem. Therefore, it is important to dispose of Orbeez responsibly and not let them end up in places where they don’t belong.

Overall, while Orbeez can provide entertainment and fun, it is important to consider the potential environmental impact of their use and to take appropriate measures to prevent harm.

Further Reading on Orbeez Water Beads: