Orbeez, those colorful little balls that grow when soaked in water, are a super fun DIY science experiment for kids and adults alike. I really love creating fun science activities at home, I was excited to try growing my own Orbeez to see just how they work.

How Long Do Orbeez Take to Grow?

When you first drop those tiny hard orbeez into water, you might think they’ll instantly transform into those giant squishy balls. But science doesn’t exactly work that way. The growth process takes time, you know. I learned that it can take several hours for orbeez to reach their full size, though the time varies a bit depending on the size and type of orbeez.

In my experience, most orbeez take around 4-8 hours to fully grow. The first hour, you don’t notice much change. But then they start rapidly expanding over the next few hours as they soak up all that water. It’s a gradual yet magical process! Of course, it depends on factors like the water temperature too. Warmer water may speed things up.

Here’s a rough timeline of what to expect while growing orbeez:

  • Hour 1: Just tiny hard beads floating in water
  • Hour 3: Orbeez expand to marble-sized, starting to feel squishy
  • Hour 5: Orbeez the size of small berries, semi-squishy
  • Hour 7: Fully rounded, squishy, jelly-like orbeez!

The key is patience. Resist the urge to constantly poke and prod them. Just let those little guys soak up the water undisturbed as long as possible. Enjoy watching them slowly grow and transform over hours.

Tips to Make Orbeez Grow Faster

Okay, so while the natural growing process is cool, who doesn’t want instant gratification sometimes? Here are some handy tips and tricks to reduce the growing time and get your orbeez to full size faster:


Use Warm Water

This is an easy one! Warmer water will speed up the expansion process. After all, molecules move faster when hot. Use warm tap water or heat up some water for quicker orbeez growth. But don’t go above 140°F as extremely hot water can damage the beads. I aim for 100-120°F and it works great.

Submerge Completely

Make sure orbeez are fully submerged in the water so they can soak up as much as possible from all sides. Leaving them floating on top will lead to uneven, slower growth.

Give Them a Swirl

Every hour or so, gently swirl the orbeez in the water to reposition them. This allows beads to absorb water from all sides for even, quick growth.

Use Salt

Here’s a cool science trick! Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in the water before adding your orbeez. Salt helps the beads expand faster by pulling more water into them through osmosis. I was amazed at how much quicker my salted orbeez grew!

Massage Them

Every few hours, gently massage, poke, and squeeze the orbeez to help the water penetrate inside quicker. I like wearing plastic gloves for this to avoid prolonged water exposure. Don’t overdo it though, as you don’t want to rupture the beads.

With all these tricks, I was able to get a batch fully grown within 4-5 hours versus the usual 8. Kids will love tinkering and experimenting to make their orbeez grow as fast as possible. It’s entertaining science!

Related Article: How To Store Orbeez?

Does Salt Really Work to Grow Orbeez Faster?

Out of all the tips above, using salt intrigued me the most. I decided to do a little kitchen science experiment to test whether salt actually speeds up the orbeez growing process.

I took two containers of orbeez from the same package, placed them in bowls of water warmed to 110°F. In one bowl, I dissolved 1 teaspoon of table salt in the water before adding the beads. I left the other as just plain water for comparison.

Then I observed the growth progress each hour. And you know what? The salted orbeez did in fact expand much quicker! After 3 hours, the plain water beads were marble-sized while the salted ones had already reached berry-size. And the salted batch reached full squishy size nearly 2 hours faster overall.

The science behind this makes total sense. When you add salt to water, it increases the concentration of sodium and chloride ions. Water molecules are then drawn out of the orbeez through osmosis to balance the concentrations. This dehydrates the beads, causing them to swell rapidly as they soak up more water to restore their shape.

It was so cool to see chemistry in action like this! The kids were just as impressed. We may have gotten a bit too excited, smushing and squishing the giant orbeez too roughly once they finished growing.

Note for next time: orbeez popped by over-eager squeezing make quite the mess!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you grow orbeez in different liquids?

Orbeez absorb best in plain water. Some people have tried growing them in other liquids like soda, juice or alcohol, but water works best.

How small are orbeez when dry?

In their original dry state, orbeez are tiny hard beads, usually between 3-5mm wide, similar to the size of a peppercorn.

Can orbeez be reused after growing?

Yes, orbeez can be dried out in the sun or oven after use and will shrink back down. Then they can be rehydrated and regrown multiple times.

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