by Dr. Jody Brakeley
Has your child (or you) ever had such strong feelings that it was hard for him or her to see and think clearly? Our minds get scrambled up when we feel stressed, worried, anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, excited or mad. A Calming Jar (sometimes called a mind jar or calm down jar) is a good representation for our minds. When you shake it up it is not possible to see through all the glitter. Then, as you just breathe and watch the glitter settle, your mind will calm too.
If you missed our last article by Dr. Brakely, take a minute to go back and read her article: the why behind your child’s tantrum (and yours)
Calming jars are easy to make and can be a fun activity for a child and his or her parent.
The following is adapted from the Montessori website. There are lots of ways to make calming jars (e.g., with glycerin, glitter glue, coconut oil etc.) The ingredients for this particular recipe are inexpensive and easy to find.
- A one-cup glass or plastic jar (e.g., a half-pint Mason jar, an old jelly jar or mustard jar). The recipe is for a one-cup container. Adapt the quantities to the size of your jar.
- 1/2 cup corn syrup (e.g., light Karo syrup)
- 1/2 cup hot water plus more to fill the jar (hot tap water works fine)
- 1 teaspoon of glitter- use any color you want. Experiment!
- 3-4 drops dish soap
- Food coloring, optional
- Combine (colored) water and corn syrup in a bowl with a whisk.
- Pour into the jar and add the glitter.
- Add 3-4 drops of dish soap (add 1-2 drops at a time; shake the jar and observe. Add more soap to make the glitter stick together less and settle to the bottom faster).
- Fill the jar with water to the very top. Seal very tightly (use a glue gun to secure the seal if you want)
- Shake well. (It should take approximately 3 minutes for the glitter to settle)
Make sure to give a lesson on proper use or you may end up with a broken jar and a house full of glitter! Plastic jars might be better for younger children. If you want to, you can glue a small figurine to the inside of the jar lid. That way when you tip it upside down there is a surprise (like in a snow globe).