I used this demonstration to start a conversation about refractive index with my IP3 kids. These hydrogels certainly generated a lot of excitement as the kids were fascinated with how invisible it becomes when placed in water.
You can get a 1000 (yes, one thousand!) of these for $1.29 at Shopee. Make sure to choose the transparent ones instead of the coloured version when checking out.
Say goodbye to the messy demonstration involving the soaking of glass in a beaker of vegetable oil or glycerin.