Make your own calm down jar for kids

Do you have a child who can get quite upset, needs quiet time, or enjoys being alone? If time outs do not work well for your child, you can ask him/her to sit with a calm down jar for a few minutes and then come back to the situation when most of the glitter falls to the bottom.  Glitter jars also have an added sensory bonus. Here is how to make your own calm down jar.

why they work

Calm down jars can be any jar filled with a simple mixture of glue, glitter and hot water. You can also add your child’s favourite toys too… LEGO! Any time your child (or you) need a break, give the jar a GREAT BIG shake (I promise the shaking is part of the “therapy”) and then watch and wait for the glitter to settle. The wait can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes.

They provide proprioceptive, visual and tactile input. Shaking, squeezing, turning, and watching the jars as the glitter settle allows your body to recieve sensory input needed to organize thoughts, focus your attention, and “rewire” your nervous system.

Calm Down Jar
What you’ll need

  • Recycled Jar
  • Glitter Glue (e.g., Elmers)
  • Extra glitter (for extra shine)
  • Food Coloring
  • Warm Water
  • Lego Minifigures or small plastic toys (optional)


Start by adding in about half a bottle of Glitter glue.

Then add in warm water, enough to almost fill the jar. (Save room for shaking and movement in the bottle)

Add in a bit of food coloring and extra glitter (otherwise you will see the particles of glue separate and it won’t look as uniform.)

Finally, add in one Lego minifigure. Put on the lid and tightly secure it.

Do not skip the glue step! The glue creates a thicker consistency to help suspend the glitter.

Note: If you have a younger child or one that will open, I suggest hot gluing the lid closed. You might also want to use a plastic jar in some cases.
 Teach your child that they can grab their calm down jar at anytime to shake out frustrations and then calmly watch the glitter fall while taking a quiet moment to sit, relax, and breathe.