When children go through certain moments, such as agitation, anxiety, temper tantrums, or rage, we don’t always know how to help them. The Calming Glitter Jar is a simple resource that helps to calm your child, and the best part is that it’s super easy and fun to make!
What is it?
The Calming Glitter Jar is a tool proposed by Montessori Education and its purpose is to calm the child when they are crying, stressed, or when they are agitated. It is very simple: a transparent jar or bottle, with colored liquid and glitter inside.
The basic principle of this sensory tool is to help the child relax while being distracted by handling the jar and watching the glitter move inside it.
Why does it help calm the child?
Controlling emotions is a skill we strive to develop throughout our lives. In childhood, the brain is not yet fully developed and that is why it is even more difficult to use reason to deal with feelings. Therefore, children often need extra help to regulate their emotional responses.
The Calming Glitter Jar works as a “visual anchor” that encourages the child to focus their attention on that particular moment. This makes them gradually disconnect from what caused them to be angry, sad, or even agitated.
The act of shaking the jar to make the glitter move also has a calming effect. This becomes a physical way of releasing bottled up feelings- a healthier way than kicking or hitting things.
The position of holding and moving the calming jar at a height approximately in the middle of the body also helps to reorganize the nervous system. Meanwhile, watching the glitter slowly fall helps to get their breathing and heart rate back on track.
How to make a Calming Glitter Jar?
It is very easy to make! Here are the materials they’ll need:
- Transparent jar or bottle (glass or plastic)
- Food coloring
- Glitter glue
Step by step:
Fill ¾ of the jar or bottle with water, leaving a space for the liquid to move around. Put a spoon of glitter glue, two spoons of glitter, and two drops of colored dye. Close the jar and shake everything.
The calming jar can be made of glass or plastic. Choosing plastic is good to prevent it from breaking if it falls and it’s safer to carry it in your bag without any worries. On the other hand, the glass can encourage the child to handle it with care, feeling its weight and moving it slowly.
It’s a good idea to seal the lid with hot glue or super glue to prevent the jar or bottle from opening accidentally.
If the glitter glue isn’t enough to make the liquid thicker, try adding a spoon of shampoo or clear liquid soap to make the glitter move more slowly.
How to use the Calming Glitter Jar?
It is important to give it to the child at a quiet time so that they can become familiar with it. As with most calming strategies, it is most effective when used in times of agitation before the child reaches their “breaking point”, becoming very nervous and inconsolable.
When the child is agitated, shake the calming jar and give it to them to see their reaction. Encourage them to move the jar in different directions. Swirling to form a whirlpool, turning it upside down, waiting for the glitter to fall down to the bottom, and then swirling it around again… Give them a few hints, but let them figure out these possibilities for themselves. This is part of the calming effect of the jar.
Take a picture of your DIY Calming Glitter Jar and tag @playstories on Instagram!