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the calming jar

My oldest goes from 0-10 so quickly, she gets frustrated easily (especially when she isn’t in control). Even after she is over her tantrum she is still upset and anxious. So we made a calming jar for her to help calm her down after one of her fits.  It is part of positive “time-outs” or “time-ins” that we are doing in our house. I don’t send her to her room to be by herself, instead I am sitting with her or near her (depending on what she wants) and she gets to shake the jar to mix up all the glitter, then she sets it down and watches all the glitter until it settles at the bottom. If she is still upset she can do it again until she has found her happy self.

Since adding this into our life, the calming jar has helped in so many ways. We are needing it less and less each day and Ashlyn’s over all tantrums have gone down.

If you want to make your own calming jar (good for moms as well) they are really easy! All you need to do is:

  • jar or bottle with a lid
  • 1 tbsp of clear glue (or glitter glue) to each 1 cup of (hot) water to fill the jar
  • add in glitter (I added about 1 inch of glitter)
  • food colouring (optional)

please note: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT give this jar to your child when they are in the middle of a fit… glass and angry/upset child will likely result in this beautiful jar smashed to pieces. If you would like to make one of these for a younger child I recommend a plastic bottle or jar instead. Also weather you are using a glass or plastic container please do not leave your child unsupervised when they are using the jar. There are many sites out there with variations on how to make your own “calming jar” (as we call it in our house) or “mind jar“.


rachael May - Robyn, this is such a beautiful idea. Thank you very much for sharing. I love the idea of having a “positive” time-out sometimes that’s more beneficial then a “sit in the corner” time out.

Jessica - Great idea and so pretty!

Sarah Bunch - AAAAH! Thank you, Robyn! This is exactly what I needed to see today. Both of mine could use this. You are a saint.

Chelsey - Robyn this is such a great idea :) I will definitely try to write my own post soon to share – I’ve been meaning to do that. We have a few different methods we use, including time-ins and “re-dos”. Love the glitter calming jar. It’s visually counting to ten.

Cheryl - Tis is just the most brilliant idea. I have a preschool and will use this. It is not often I place a child in a time in but if I do this will be a fantastic positive shifting tool.

Friday Favorites « warmhotchocolate - [...] definitely need one of these at our house. Such a beautiful [...]

Heather - I love this idea for adults too. I want one for my stressful days. Thanks for sharing!

Karen - SO CUTE! I have to try this for my nephew! You can put so many different things in it like seashells and gems!

Mason Jar Ideas - [...] via [...]

Carrol - I’ll be making one of these for my granddaughters…it really looks like it works.

Amanda - Such A great Idea!!! but how did you get the glitter to sink? ive tried 2 diff kinds of glitter, the last one is the recollections one you have pictured above, and it just floats!

Kourtney - This is a fantastic idea! I am now featuring your post on my blog ( and on a new Pinterest board that I started that I am calling the Calming Kit ( Come check it out! This is such a fabulous idea to use with people of all ages to soothe tantrums, meltdowns, and general stress. Thanks for sharing such a delightful and colorful tutorial. Cheers! Kourtney

Courtney - I am going right out to make this today. My daughter has such a hard time calming herself down, I think this glitter will distract her and teach her to calm down on her own. I can’t rub her back until she’s 18. :-)

Marla Monroe - Awesome idea. I work with emotionally disturbed children. This might be something new to try for a time out.

jennifer - I think I will make one for myself! ;)

Melissa - Great idea! I’m going to make this for my boys!

Alaska - Ok, I’m not so crafty, but I love this idea. Can I get step by step instructions? What do I do with the clear glue? Do I mix the glitter in it? Um, yeah, step by step instructions. I have two crazies who need this BADLY!

michelle - I used glitter glue and it just moves in globs. Any suggestions?

Lydia - I love this idea!I might have to make one for myself, when I am fixing to lose it! But thank you!

Chanti - I made one for myself (the mom)!

robyn - Sorry yours globbed. I am not sure why, I just used clear glue and added it into hot water and then added the sparkles.

robyn - I added HOT water into my jar, then the glue and then sparkles, put the lid on and gave it a good shake. Honestly it was just like that!

christan - does this actually work? i have a 5 year old son who is resistant to any discipline techniques we have tried and i’m now desperate to try anything.

Elaine - I love this idea. I can’t wait to try it with my daycare kids. I usually use book, but I think this wil be much more effective !

Michelle Anderson - I’ve made one of these for my kids. They like to grab the bottle and shake it even when they don’t need to calm down :) For those who are complaining about the glitter looking like big ‘globs’- I had the same problem. But I just kept shaking the bottle a lot, and that seemed to help brake up the glitter. Or try adding glitter to the water followed by the glue next- I really don’t know if this matters, but hey it’s worth a try :) I just washed out an old Gaterade bottle because I didn’t like the idea of glass. I might make a different one, because the glitter I used was a big flake and I hear that the smaller flake glitter is better. It takes it a little longer to settle to the bottom.

thoma - I used a plastic water bottle and put three marbles in the bottom to help mix up the settled glitter and glue globs. Worked like a charm!

Leslie - I just made this with my daughter! She loved being apart of the process in making it! BUT I do have a question, how did you get the water that beautiful light pink color? I bought neon food color and put a few drops and its like red basically. :/

amanda - so i found out a drop of dish soap works great and i skip the glue. i found this out becuase i didn’t wash all the soap out of the jar and when i put the glitter in it dropped to the bottom without the glue. tryed it and worked everytime.

Miss D - This is a fantastic idea! I am going to make one and use it in my classroom :)

Thank you for sharing!

Nancy Lennon - This is such a cool idea, for kids or adults. I might need to make one for myself.
Blessings, Nancy

joy - what a great idea. My youngest son is autistic and i think he would really enjoy this.

Carly - I love this idea. I am a teacher and I think this is going to be a great tool to use with my students.

penny - me, and my 6 year old daughter, loved this idea. it focuses her mind on something else to calm down. i used to send her to bed and say, “don’t get up until you are in a better mood”, but this is such a better idea!!! it doesn’t seem like she being punished and she sees it as a treat. everybody wins!!!

dolores - una idea brillante,e de probarlo ,gracias por compartir.

Amy - Thank you so much for posting this, it’s fun, simple, and very easy to understand for my 4 year old. We made one as a “time out jar” and luckily we haven’t had to actually use it. However, she keeps “time outting” herself just to shake it. I think I’ll be making a small one for me to tuck into my purse for when we are out and about. Just to keep her entertained or if I actually need a small time out jar, lol.

J - Thanks soooo much for sharing such an awesome idea

Debbie - I followed the recipe exactly as written and mine settles in about 15 seconds. That’s not enough time to calm a irrate child. What could be done differently to slow the settling effect?

LISA - We just made one and it works great! Thanks.

Single Life 2 Married Wife - Fabulous idea! would be great for my little four year old princess niece!

Jessica - I followed the directions and still ended up with some glitter chunks floating at the top, but the kid was happy so I was happy. Also, I found a glitter sample pack at Michaels for less than $2.

Lauren - My daughters and I made these today. We went to A.C. Moore and got glitter glue. It has all different kinds of glitter, some big and chunky. It worked really good.

The Calming Jar | Baby Freebies, Shopping Deals, & Family Money Saving Tips | - [...] Click HERE to read the full, and original, Calming Jar idea [...]

Margaret Carrico - Thank you for this wonderful idea. My grandson Jaxson will put this to good use. He gets so upset over small things and is like your daughter in no time at all. I am hoping this will help.

Amy - I am a kindergarten teacher and made two jars. I like them however the jar calms down really fast…I wish it laster longer

Yolanda - Awesome idea! I know what I’ll be doing this evening :o)

michelle D - Thank you soooo much. this is a great idea! My child hasA.D.H.D. & O.D.D. and he is 8 it has been a struggle for many years..seems like i have tried everything…definately doing this!!

School News « New Morning Community Preschool - [...] removed, about the size of a peanut butter jar or larger. We will be using them to make a set of calming jars for our yoga class. -Children’s magazines or ‘family’ friendly magazines or [...]

Jessica - I made one of these with vegetable oil instead of glue. I used half jar of water, half jar of vegetable oil and used food coloring and regular glitter. The vegetable oil slows the glitter from dropping to the bottom too quickly and it isn’t sticky like glue so you don’t get globs in the jar.

JoAnn - I found this link through pinterest. What a great idea and timely for our family. Our 7yo and 5yo(also Ashlyn) are double teaming me with the 0-10 bursts of frustration and anger. I will be making a couple of these this weekend. I think they will be great tools in our gentle parenting tool box. :)

Calming Jar for Kids - [...] minutes, so anything that would shorten their duration would be amazing. I have seen quite a few blogs on time out bottles or jars. You give them to your child to take the focus off their tantrum. The [...]

Tiffany - My Daughter and I made these for her and her high school friends.(Because H.S. is stressful!) We used glitter glue and hot water, but we had to whisk it a bunch so there would be no globs of glitter. But it turned out great! And it is a great made it myself gift to give to her friends!

Kat - Will be trying this for our daughter with sensory intergration disorder. She is a girlie girl….. She will love the pink and sparkles.

Donna Green - Thank you sooo much for this idea, the discription of your daughter is so like mine. It hurts to see her so frustrated and anxious, I’m thrilled about this and know that it is going to be the best thing for her to find that peace inside :) Thanks!!

Carri - I have made a few of these jars and they are WONDERFUL! I made the first one for an autistic 4 yr old that I was caregiving last summer. I made his in a plastic peanut butter jar and super glued the lid shut. The jar has “flown” several time and is still holding up well!

Amber - I am making two, one for me and my office and one for my son!

Caddie - ahhh thanks for posting this! I have too many tantrums at home and running out of ideas!

Elizabeth Freville - I LOVE this idea! Thanks luv! <3

Terri Monteverdi - Such an awesome idea – making one for myself too!

Stacey - I made two of these… one the glitter sinks really fast… one the glitter doesn’t sink at all! Any ideas?! (Same glitter, one uses dish soap and one uses glitter glue)

Toddler Tuesday : Evolution of the Grumples « Intentional Adventures - [...] I was on Pinterest when I discovered the calming jar. [...]

Katie - I just made mine! I used a peanut butter jar (plastic). Works perfectly! I also super glued the lid on…just in case!
The glitter settles very fast. …but JUST made it. Maybe after shaking awhile and when the water cools down it will take longer??? Hope so… Love it anyway!

Six months of Oregon « Ball Family // Just Us - [...] find it challanging to calm her down. I stumbled across this idea and thought I would give it a go! It was incredibly easy to do. As we are all busy with our everyday lives I really want to do crafts [...]

» Calming Jar A Really Useful Blog - [...] brilliant idea from Robyn Oakenfold.  Read more at her [...]

christelle Donaghy - sometimes we just need that laps of time to breath…lovely idea, lovely pictures, lovely blog.

DinoMama - This is such a great idea! I shall make one for my son, great way to make him calm down. I think you can mix in a little bit of glycerin or baby oil to the water to make the glitter falls slower.

I so have to make one of these | hopebordeaux - [...] may be a grown woman, but I still love this DIY project: a calming jar tutorial that my friend Angel posted from Robyn Oakenfold’s blog. I love glitter. I [...]

What is WITH the 4-yr-old tantrum!? | mommyneurotic - [...] The Calming Jar  ~ ok, I REALLY like this one, just because its so pretty. Oh, and my daughter loves sparkles. [...]

Linh - Such a great idea and yours is the prettiest I’ve seen. I must make one!

Ashley R - I just made one for the munchkin I nanny. She has been having a hard time transitioning from play to potty. I usually do a ‘potty countdown’, but I’m hoping this will be better as a visual thing. Although, it doesn’t take very long for the glitter to settle down.

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