"Calm Down" Glitter Jars

Update: See attempt #2 of the glitter jars here.  I think version 2.0 is much improved!
Since turning 4, it seems Luke has more and more times where he gets so frustrated or worried or upset that he will get to the point we can hardly talk to him.  He won’t want to do anything we suggest and he’ll just lay down and yell-cry.  It’s been frustrating and a challenge.  

I saw these jars on Pinterest yesterday, and even though we didn’t have all the supplies to make them, we got them started today.  You are supposed to use glitter glue, glitter, hot water, and food coloring.  We had glitter glue, hot water, and food coloring but no “extra” glitter to add in.  I figure I’ll just pick some up next time we’re out and add it in, but for now, these will suffice.  You can see the super simple directions at Chasing the Firefly.

Luke wanted a green jar and Lilah wanted purple.  I think Luke’s is really pretty and calming-looking.  Lilah’s could use some work; I made hers as purple as I could by using the red and blue glitter we had on hand and mixing red and blue food coloring, but it leaves a little to be desired.  We may try again to make her a prettier jar later after I pick up some additional supplies.

The idea behind the “Calm Down” jar is that you shake it up and watch the glitter slowly fall down to the bottom.  The glue mixed into the water helps to hold the glitter in the solution a lot longer than with just plain water, so it’s a slow, calming process.  


We used glass jars — I think these held peanut or almond butter originally — but if you’re worried about your child throwing or dropping it, I’d use plastic.  I would never give these to my children if they were angry!!!  This is more for upset, sad, worried kids….or adults!  You could probably even use this in place of many “time outs” when your goal is really to get your child to calm down and think about their actions.

I think I will keep these on our mantel or on the counter to hand to the kids as needed, and also so they’ll be in sight for the kids to ask for them if they feel the need.  I think with the jars within easy reach for me, I may use them, too, when I feel myself losing my patience.  I’m sure a few minutes of calming myself down would benefit all of us!

Once I get these completed by adding in the extra glitter and doctoring Lilah’s up a bit (or starting over) to make hers look nicer, I will probably hot glue the lids on so we don’t have any “accidental” spills.  I’d definitely need a calming jar to look at if that happened!!!

Update: See attempt #2 of the glitter jars here.  I think version 2.0 is much improved!

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • Laurie says:

    I like these! I’ll bet you could use liquid watercolor in purple and it would be more truly purple.

  • Anonymous says:

    I love these, too…could you use plastic instead of glass jars adn still ge the same affect?

  • Lisa says:

    i made one of these for my classroom and it is a huge hit! i did not have any glitter glue so i boiled equal parts of sugar and water to thicken, then added rainbow glitter and a little food color. sometimes i need to suggest that children “shake the jar”, but most of the time if upset they find it themselves. i like to keep it right next to the tissues and some lotion that they can use (also very calming).

  • Anonymous says:

    I made these with some pearlised finger paint in the water instead of glitter and they were really lovely. In fact we made them by accident after clearing up after finger-painting one day as the water in the bowl looked so pretty we put it in a jam jar

  • Ms. Liz says:

    We did a glitter jar back in January and it is still a classroom favorite for calming. One child in particular loves to sit with it, and says he is “watching the stars”.. 🙂 We used corn syrup in ours…

    Thanks for sharing the different colors. Probably time for us to make a few more 🙂

  • Shelley says:

    My toddlers would like these. If you can find the neon food coloring, the purple on there is a nice one. Much better than trying to mix your own. I can never seem to mix a goods role. It always seems to look more black than anything.

  • Tricia says:

    Such a neat idea! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Genny Upton says:

    Thanks for all the comments and ideas!!! @Laurie, thanks for the watercolor idea…I’ll have to try that! @Anon — yes, I think plastic would work just fine. L&L like these so much I may make them some in plastic just so they can “play” with them. I’ll certainly be gluing the lids on before I do that though!! If I do, I’ll post some pics of the plastic ones, too, for comparison. 🙂

  • Lisa J says:

    I make my own “bottles” often. I had some old glue with stars etc in it that had dried up. I added water to itand after the old dried glue had finally softened put a bit of colored water I had made with the old dried out crayola marker insides. We called these recycled bottles at preschool. Everything old was new again!

  • Anonymous says:

    I made these for my preschool class but I was looking for an alternative to a glass jar. I discovered that a metal canning jar lid fit perfectly on a a 32 oz plastic Mayonnaise jar (the brand with the word blue) and I was able to spray the the metal lid a pretty silver color. I also also added a few silver sequin stars to the water. The children love looking for the stars as they watch the swirling glitter. These jars truly are a calming wonder.

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