We have been practicing a lot of mindfulness in our home, and although meditation is still my kids favourite way to be mindful, I thought I would share another fun way to practice mindfulness by using a glitter jar.
A mindfulness jar has also been referred to as a calming jar, galaxy jar or glitter jar. It a fantastic tool to teach kids (and adults) how to deal with strong emotions, and calm their bodies in times of stress. The first step is to start off by explaining the mindfulness glitter jar to your kids. Tell them that the jar is supposed to represent our mind, and the sparkles represent the many thoughts and emotions we feel. When you shake the jar and the sparkles and water mix, it shows how our mind can feel when dealing with big emotions like stress, fear or anger. When we have these big emotions, often our hearts will beat faster and our breathing becomes heavier and quicker. When you let the jar sit still and all the sparkles settle, it shows our mind when we are calm, helping us to think more clearly. The same thing happens to us when we sit still and take slow deep breaths, we are able to feel more calm.
What you will need:
- Glass Jar – or plastic jar for little kids
- Clear Glue
- Water – warm or room temperature
- Hot glue gun or super glue
- ***OPTIONAL*** food colouring (small amount)
- Fill your jar just under half way with water.
- Then fill your jar about 1/3 full of the clear glue, and wait a few minutes until it is all mixed or mix gently with a stir stick. The more glue you use the longer it will take for the glitter to settle.
- Pour in your glitter and gently stir. I find that fine glitter has a better effect.
- Fill the rest of your jar up with water.
- Glue your lid to the jar using a hot glue gun or super glue and let fully dry.
- Shake and enjoy.
- ***Optional*** you can also add a small amount of food colouring to your jar although I find it harder to see through the jar once the sparkles settle if you add food colouring.
USES FOR MINDFULNESS GLITTER JAR
The glitter jar is a great way to help children calm down when they feel overwhelmed or overstimulated. When kids are feeling flooded with feelings of anger, sadness or stress, mindfulness allows them become aware of their thoughts, feelings, environment and sensations in their body. After explaining to your kids that the jar is the mind and the sparkles are feelings and thoughts, invite them to shake the jar. Get them to notice how the glitter is swirling around and mimicking what it can look like in their head when they feel overwhelmed. Reassure them that it is normal and okay to have big emotions like anger, and sadness, and that there are ways to cope with them. Now get them to set the jar on a stable surface, and tell them to take slow deep breaths in and out until all of the glitter settles to the bottom. Get them to notice how slow deep breaths help them feel calm. Get them to notice any changes in their body. Is their heart now beating slower? Are their shoulders and facial muscles more relaxed? Continue to get them to take deep breaths in and out until all of the sparkles settle.
Increase regular mindfulness practice
You can use this jar throughout the day to increase your mindfulness practice. Even if you are not particularly stressed, simply being present observing the glitter slowly settle to the bottom after you shake it is a great way to practice mindfulness. Taking moments to simply breathe deeply throughout the day is always a good thing. Not only does mindful breathing help for relaxation, it also improves focus, enhances creativity and increases your overall emotional intelligence.