I like to make calming jars with kids because not only is it a fun activity, it’s also a useful coping strategy that can help a child calm down and relax. Calming jars can be used as a way to take space when things get a little overwhelming. Just shake the jar and watch it. There is something very calming about shaking the bottle and watching the glitter or other materials slowly settle down. At our house, we use them at bedtime and as a way to relax.
Over the past several months, the kids and I have made several different kinds of calming jars with different materials. There are several different items you can add into your jars but there are a few basics you need.
I’ve used empty soda bottles, empty water bottles, glass jars and plastic containers. Use whatever makes sense for you and your family. For instance, for the calming jars the kids have in their room, I used a heavy duty plastic bottle. I didn’t want them to accidentally knock over a glass jar in the dark - that would be a huge mess!
I’ve had the best results when I’ve used warm water - it makes it easier for the water and paint to combine.
I prefer using glitter paint (or glitter glue) instead of glitter because then I’m not cleaning up glitter for weeks at my house after we make them :-)
Sometimes you want the glitter/other items to stay afloat longer or for a shorter amount of time. Here are some different ingredients you can use as the wet ingredients.
- Hair Gel
- Corn Syrup
- Glitter Glue
- Glow in the dark paint
- Small stones
- Small shells
- Glow in the dark stars
To make your jar, add glitter paint to the bottom of the jar until it just covers the bottom of it. Add warm water. Put the cover on and shake to help the ingredients combine.
Alternately, you could combine the wet ingredients in a bowl and pour them into the jar, but I don’t always want to take that extra step.
Open up the jar again and add in your extra ingredients. Once you are satisfied with the look of your jar, then you can super glue the lid shut so it doesn’t spill. In a pinch, I’ve also used duct tape to secure the lid.
Purchase your own simple DIY Calming Jar
Looking for more ideas and products to teach your child coping skills?
Take a look at our sister site, Coping Skills for Kids!