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I don’t profess to be a master crafter, but I do OK. I used to be much better at creative projects, but kids’ crafts are a whole different animal. The distractions, the spills and messes, mommy trying to take photos… Luckily, my kids don’t care about any of that. They just like the process.
So for this week’s crafting project, I took some inspiration from those calming glitter jars I’ve seen all over Pinterest. The idea is that when your child gets overwhelmed or anxious, you have them shake the jar and focus on the swirling, settling glitter. It takes a few minutes, and the motion is calming enough to diffuse overstimulation (or whatever else is going on that could use a calming effect.) I’ve seen them called time-out jars too, which is kind of brilliant, I think.
I’m noticing that having my son’s birthday right after Halloween and before the big winter holidays leads to some trouble for him in processing the excitement and stimulation (party overload!) So with the hectic, stressful holiday season closing in on us, I decided this was the time to make our calming jar. Once I started planning our project, I was reminded of another thing on my to-do list: a Find-It Jar. You know, the ones with the rice, beans or sand, sprinkled with little trinkets that show up as you turn the jar.
What would happen if I combined the two? Let’s find out!
I wasn’t feeling super confident that our jar was going to turn out the way I planned, and tossing out the remnants of failed projects always feels like such a waste. No worries on this one, though, because I found almost everything I needed to make it at the Dollar Tree. I never go to any craft store unless I hit Dollar Tree first. Why pay more for crafting staples like glue, glitter and jars? (And getting sidetracked in the seasonal aisle is a given, so plan for extra time if you stop in.)
We started with a standard size mason-style jar, filled it about 1/3 of the way with glitter glue, then added hot water. A couple good minutes of shaking broke up the glue, and we tossed in the rest of the glitter. A whole container. It might have been just a tad too much, but it all worked out. Then, a bunch of beads, both large and small, just for a change in texture from the glitter.
We kept the whole thing blue, green and silver so that (hopefully) it would take on an ocean feel.
Last but not least, we added in our secret ingredient: a pack of plastic sea animals from the toy aisle. Not only does the glitter swirl and fall when you shake the jar, but as it settles, fishies appear! Sharks, sea lions, dolphins…I only wish I had some seashells to add! After the fish, we filled the jar the rest of the way with water and put the lid on. Tightly!
Was our jar a success? Yes! Not so much because of how it turned out, but because the kids just had so much fun making it (and it only cost us about $5 total to make it.) We did go back and add some blue food coloring (which made a huge difference in making the water look pretty) and I think if I made another one, I’d buy more fish and trinkets and maybe a little less glitter.
But overall, the concept of the calming jar is a good one. Just check out the look on this little dude’s face…
He watched it long enough for all the glitter to settle, and I think adding in a few fish friends was the best part, because it gave him the incentive to keep watching. I’d say it kept him occupied for a good ten minutes after he shook it, and that’s more than enough time to diffuse an anxious moment, if need be.
And the littlest one? Does she like it? You tell me.
If your little one gets overstimulated, anxious, or just benefits from a calming moment now and then, give this one a try. Visit DollarTree.com to get all the supplies, and be sure to sign up for emails if you want insider info on upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Week sales!