Free Your Mind

EDITED TO ADD:  I’m pleased to see that people on Pinterest are finding this post, as I have found the Mind Jar to be a great parenting tool.  After reading comments here and on Pinterest with worries about children throwing glass jars full of glitter across the room in anger, I thought I should add this note.  I only use the Mind Jar to get through moments of fear or anxiousness with my kids.  If they are worried about school, or a family member they know is ill, or strife with a friend.  I’m usually sitting with them and we’ll talk it out, as we both enjoy the glitter show.  It never occurred to me to hand them a glass jar full of liquid and glitter while they were in the throes of a tantrum.  Tantrums and are dealt with much differently.  Although, I can say that a lot of tantrums stem from fears and worry, so many times while we’re working through that moment we all end up giving the jar a good shake.  Sometimes, me more than them!

We’re two weeks into Kindergarten and Pix is finding ways to cope with her anxiety about school.  Doesn’t that sound so clinical and serious?  I guess all these years of dealing with mental health has led me to this.  Let’s lighten the mood a little shall we?  Pix is about two weeks into Kindergarten and she is starting to dig her class.  Today was the first day that there were absolutely no tears.  I caught a few glimpses of the “deer in the headlights” and “I think I’m gonna hurl” look, but Pix is living up to her old nickname of Mighty Mite.  She is gathering up her bravery and taking it with her to school.

Since this obviously isn’t an issue that needs medication we’re teaching Pix how to find ways to calm herself.  I even made Pix a Mind Jar (found on Pinterest, from this site) to help her relax when she’s feeling anxious about school.  This gets a lot of use on Sunday nights and in the morning.

What is a mind jar?  It’s a jar full or glitter glue, glitter and water.  Swirl it around and relax while you watch the glitter fall to the bottom of the jar.

Pix isn’t the only fan of this jar.  It helps me to calm down Sprite when she’s overly amped, which happens often.

Look at her state of calm.  No small feat when it comes to Sprite.  You know what I find most calming about this jar?  THE GLITTER IS CONTAINED.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

How to make:  Just mix 1 tablespoon of glitter glue, per 1 cup of hot water, add extra glitter (I used an extra small tub).

A note:  The first Mind Jar I made was red and Pix didn’t like it.  She told me that red was “an angry color” and then requested a blue Mind Jar “because blue is like the happy ocean”.

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141 thoughts on “Free Your Mind

  1. Red makes me happy, but I can see how it can be an angry color.

    Blue is always a calming color for me – probably because of the happy ocean. Or a happy sky.

    I’m glad she is starting to enjoy school. I love the mind jar idea and am considering making one for our house. It’s kinda like a snowglobe and I’ve always found those relaxing.

  2. “THE GLITTER IS CONTAINED” and “because blue is like the happy ocean” both made me smile so much. I love you guys. :-) I’m glad Pix is feeling better about Kindergarten! It’s a big change from preschool, really, so it’s not surprising it’s taken her some time to adjust. I bet in another two weeks you won’t be able to believe she was ever anxious about it.

    That mind jar is pretty cool. I might have to make one! I wonder if it works on 9-month-olds…

  3. I love the mind jar. I think I need one for when I start to stress about exams. Guess what I’m making this weekend? The blue looks really good.

    Red…while looking angry, is also an appetite stimulant. My love for red might explain why I am overweight.

  4. You know what I didn’t mention? I used the Mind Jar when Pix was in school!! haha Not even kidding. It really did relax me.

    Hmmm, I love red also. This explains SO MUCH. haha

  5. I just decided to make one of these today after finding them all over Pinterest… and after getting fed up with my daughter’s outbursts. Who knows… if all else fails, try something new, right?

    I didn’t have any glue or hair gel, so I tried aloe gel. I was planning on making a blue one, but since the gel is greenish, I decided to mix blue and green and it’s sea greenish – lovely color. I tried a couple different kinds of glitter and added some sequins, but I think I need to play around with the ratios.

  6. I just made one for myself before my kids get home to do theirs and the glue is clumping. What did I do wrong?

  7. Oh, that’s frustrating! Hmmm, was your water good and hot when you mixed everything together? Not boiling, but your hottest tap water. It’s been weeks and we haven’t had any clumping issues.

  8. That’s a great idea. The hot water kind of created a vacuum effect with the lid and it’s actually really hard for even me to try to screw it off, but any extra efforts to contain that glitter* are a good, IMO.

    *I have an extreme aversion to free-range glitter :P

  9. Isn’t it amazing how intuitively kids pick up on the psychology of color. Many (maybe even most) people find blue to be a calming and soothing color. What a great solution for your kids!

  10. A friend of mine showed me this project this weekend. We are going to make them at my daughter’s birthday party tonight for take-home favors. I’ll be sure to print out this link and give to the parents. I searched for a while for some options to seal the jars and I am going to try painting the rims with clear nail polish to give it a bit more security.

  11. I might have to make one of these for my little niece!
    She’s well on her way to being three (at the end of next month!), and she’s currently in an OT program due to having a sensory processing disorder. This project seems like something that would be perfect for her – colorful and bright, and easy to focus on.
    Great post!

  12. I’m sure he would. I know a few people have mentioned using plastic containers. I had tried using a plastic peanut butter jar, but it leaked a lot. I’m sure there are some great plastic containers that you can find to make for a younger child. Have fun working on yours!

  13. I’m sure she would love this! My oldest daughter had sensory issues and other developmental delays. She had OT around the same age too.

  14. This is so cute! I made a pink one for my daughter and she calls her her “Flying Fairy Jar”. She wants to make different ones for her friends. Not a bad idea if you attach a cute ribbon and note. I’m sure the parents will love it and use it themselves. LOL

  15. I am making one for my daughter, who is a kindergarten teacher. She can use it when her students need some ‘time out.” (Maybe one for her three-year-old daughter too!)

  16. What about something other than a glass jar? I love this idea…but I worry about interrupting a tantrum to have him take a break and then him just chunking it on the floor!

  17. Sure! You could probably make a smaller version using toiletry bottles. The only plastic jar I had on hand at the time was a peanut butter jar and it leaked when I tried to use it for this project.

  18. I have a 7 year old with SPD and I think that this would really help with his outbursts I am definitely going to try it… I also have problems being a single mum of 4 getting some of my kids to sit in time outs at all I might make 2 and see if this can be a good solution to that especially the fighting that goes on around here!!

  19. Love this idea! My son is fast approaching 2 and is already “spirited”. lol

    I already have a snow globe kit, I may make it into one of these! The globe itself is plastic and has a good plug but they also recommend buying a sealant. Instead of the glitter glue you can use glycerine to make the glitter move slowly through the liquid. :) All that stuff is available at the big craft stores typically. I got the globe from the diy xmas decoration section at Michaels.

  20. I helped my son make one tonight but the glitter just floats straight to the bottom…is there anything I may have around the house that will thicken it up?

  21. My 4-year-old niece joined me browsing pinterest on Thanksgiving and was so fascinated by your pin that she made me come back to it about a zillion times. I think I’m going to make her one for Christmas. Hers will be pink, because she IS a pink princess. thanks so much for sharing this.

  22. It sounds like you’re really busy. I feel frazzled often with my three. Every little bit helps! I hate monitoring time out so I’ve been trying different methods instead.

  23. HAHA! My oldest showed signs as early as 2 of being “spirited” also! She was quite the handful, but now at 9.5 she’s a joy to be around :)

    Great idea with the glycerine.

  24. Awww, that makes me smile. My 4 year old loves browsing Pinterest with me also and I’m always tickled by what she finds most fascinating. I bet your niece will be thrilled with having one of her own. I love Pink Princesses :)

  25. Hmmm, I didn’t use glycerin in mine, we had plenty of suspension with just the glue. Maybe more glitter or more glue?

  26. I think you’ll really enjoy it. My youngest has been having horrible separation anxiety going to preschool. When I start to worry about her in the middle of the day I pull ours out and give it a good swirl.

  27. You’re welcome! We’re very familiar with high anxiety around here. I hope this works for you too.

  28. The glitter glue I used was kind of dark to begin with so I didn’t need to add any food coloring. I don’t think it would hurt to do so though!

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  30. In order to seal the jar (like I do when making snow globes) you can either use epoxy, or aquarium sealant. I think the aquarium sealant works better, but it’s a bit expensive. Thanks for posting this!

  31. thanks for this idea! My year old and I did this- but it didnt seem to turn out.. the glitter just all falls to the bottom within seconds. Are you supposed to first put the glitter and glitter glue in the jar and then fill it with water- or the other way around? We put the water in first and then put the glitter in..maybe thats where I went wrong???

  32. I’ve added all the ingredients in all different orders, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Maybe some glues work better than others? Have you tried mixing with a spoon? I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. I’m sure yours can be made to work.

  33. My glue is clumping too. I used the hottest tap water. Are you supposed to put the glue in first and then the hot water?

  34. I’ve read many of the comments on here and thought I would share some thoughts. I have made these for my classroom of 4 year old kids. I used plastic Dr Pepper bottles (because they have straight sides, are clear, and thus easier to see through) and sealed it by using hot glue on the inside of the cap when screwing it on the bottle. I have had kids drop them and throw them across the room with out breaking. It is also impossible for them to unscrew the lid. Just a few thoughts from a PreK teacher.

  35. Thank you for sharing this suggestion! Since I made this first mind jar, we’ve been experimenting with many different containers. The kids still love when I pull out the original (I think the fact that they need to be more careful with it makes it more valuable to them?), but I am more comfortable leaving then alone with the plastic bottle and jar versions we have made since.

  36. My son is ADHD and OCD so let me just say that finding this was a gift from God. This works great to refocus him and get him over “ur little bumps”. Thanks for sharing!

  37. You’re welcome! I’m so glad that you have been able to find something that works. I know how valuable that can be.

  38. Love the idea – one small piece of advice. Don’t use large glitter with small glitter. The larger pieces of glitter just sink. On to round two! BUT, Bitsy LOVES this jar – her (S)Nowball.

  39. let’s make this to keep in the office … one for each office.
    pls put it on the to do list for this week.

  40. I am going to make one for our house. My oldest is on the Autism Spectrum and at times will be on the verge of tears, yet not able to fully express what he’s feeling and will yell his responses when you try and ask him what is wrong. “NOTHING!, I”M FINE!” Instead of just holding him and trying to soothe him with my words I think teaching him to calm himself with the mind jar would be perfect. To collect his thoughts and calm his breath. this is fantastic!

  41. I did these and ran into the clumping as well. No problem! All you have to do is put the top on and shake it as hard as you can until all the clumps dissolve. They looked great after that. Also, I found that if you use the very fine, small glitter, it takes longer for the glitter to settle and it doesn’t all settle; a few pieces will hang around in the water. GREAT craft!! I love them, even for adults! My husband and I both have one.

  42. I don’t think I have found a blog that makes me happier than this. Especially after tonight. My daughter has a ton of anxiety and possibly a sensory disorder. I was going to go to bed after her insane outburst tonight, but I am going to make this first.

  43. I keep one for me in the kitchen cupboard and pull it out during the arsenic hours. It helps me to calm down through all the chaos of hungry, tired children.

  44. Wow, you just made my day. My oldest has had severe anxiety issues and some sensory issues. She is now almost 10 and has learned how to work through a lot of it. I hope that this helps you and your daughter to cope.

  45. Do you think, just prior to screwing the lid on, putting a bead of hot glue or rubber cement or waterproof caulk on the rim of the plastic jar would stop the leak?

  46. I love this idea and am trying it to use as a “calm down before you say something you’ll regret” jar (for the kids…but me also)! I used older glitter glue and other glitter and hot tap water, but it seemed to settle super quickly, like in 15 sec. Should it last longer? I then added some Elmer’s glue to try to thicken it, but now the glue bits are just hanging around and making it cloudy and still settling fast. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

  47. This is amazing… I am a foster parent to currently 3 little girls and this would be great to have for them… I can’t wait to try it for myself :-)

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  49. Hey! I am making this jar today for my kids. I also wondered about the glass thing. I’m glad you said something about that. BUT I have an idea for a solution. I’m making my jar with a cleaned out peanut butter jar container that’s plastic! :) Much more easy on my mind because I have some crazy boys. :) So, yeah! Peanut butter jars would work! :) Thought I’d let ya know!

  50. Hi Dani,

    I did try using a plastic peanut butter container before and it ended up leaking when I shook it to mix. I think it may have been the heat of the water? I don’t know. I would probably suggest mixing in a different container and then using the plastic jars.

    Have fun!

  51. I like the idea to seal the jars. My mason jar kind of sealed itself with a vacuum effect from the heat of the liquid inside.

  52. Hmmm, I would probably add more glitter glue? I’ve never tried elmer’s before. Between the glitter glue I used and the added glitter, it takes a while for all the bits to float to the bottom.

  53. Love the mind jars. I sent the link to my daughter who has three busy children. Her oldest has some anxiety issues and the middle daughter is a spirited pretty princess. The little one is a busy toddler. Think the mind jar could be useful in thier busy home. Thanks for sharing!

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  55. I don’t know what I did wrong! I used my hottest tap water (which is scalding!), 1 tbsp of glitter glue for every cup of water and a little extra glitter. There is very little glue that suspends in the water when shaken. There are little clumps that sink immediately to the bottom and the extra glitter I added either sinks quickly to the bottom or floats at the top! I am really disappointed. I thought this would be amazing for my 3 year old :(

  56. Love this. I used to teach preschool and made many of these for the science area as well as available to help kids calm down. I used a plastic soda bottle with the cap hot glued in place (glass was not allowed in our program). I also used light Karo syrup & water (3 to 1 ratio) the kids loved them and so did I. That and the motion bottle (1/2 baby oil 1/2 blue water). Thank you for sharing and passing on the love.

  57. I think this is fantastic, also you can try putting it into a plastic bottle that way if she needs it for other times when you are not there, you can feel safe that she is not going to hurt herself! This can be used for so many things! I am excited to give it a try!

  58. Reminds me of a snowglobe which I LOVE. So I can see that I will love this. One for my desk maybe? Yes, I think so :)

  59. I tried this using regular sized glitter, the glitter was too heavy and fell too fast. I am going to try it will smaller glitter specks. Would love to see the recipe in varying bottle sizes.

  60. i plan on making this with my son this weekend. he is in therapy currently for anger issues and separation issues. i’m also printing the instructions to share with his therapist because she always looks for new ideas for calming kids down

  61. I found you via Pinterest. Thanks for sharing this tip. An going to make One for my 6 year old with ADHD. It will help her stay calm.

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  63. We made these today, and my girl loves them. We actually took smaller plastic bottles, the Fiji water bottles that are kind of square. They are perfect, then we decorated them with stickers. Now when she gets upset, she has a green, yellow, blue, pink and purple to choose from. What a great idea, thanks for sharing!

  64. THANK YOU!!! Even though I may be just the Auntie, I strongly believe in positive parenting. I can’t think of another great way to deal with time-out, but also as you mentioned, just calming down. I know as an adult I will be making one of these for me. We all need a breather now and then.

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  66. You should try green. They have scientifically proven that the color green is the happiest color. :)

  67. I made this and experienced the clumping as well. Then found a different recipe from the book Moody Cow Meditates. No glitter glue. Fill bottle 3/4 full with warm water, the rest of the way with glycerin leaving some room for shaking. Add glitter and four to five drops liquid soap. Be sure to use FINE glitter. I experimented with both and the fine glitter stays suspended MUCH longer. This one also goes together quicker.

    You can find liquid glycerin in the Wilton supplies at Michaels or in the pharmacy first aid section at Walmart.

  68. I will be making one of these for my classroom. Often times my students don’t understand those little “teacher emergencies” that often come up during the day. This way they will have a visual of when they can and can not talk to me. It is visual, it is silent and it can be understood by everyone.

  69. Thanks for the idea, I used the clear kids paste tubes. I put half the hot water in then squeezed the glue out of the tube mixed it up and finally glitter, mixed it again adding the rest of the water. worked great, cheap and easy. my daughter loves them and loved helping make them.

  70. I have made several similar jars after reading your post. To solve some of the “danger with glass” issues, I have found the following solutions: 1. I use small plastic bottles (water bottles, soda bottles, single serving milk bottles, and the round “Santa Coke” bottles available at Christmas time. 2. I use food coloring and a vegetable oil mixture. 3. The water turns the color of the food coloring while the oil remains clear. 4. I make several different colors so that my child (grandson actually) can choose the color he wants to focus on at that time. 5. Adding a little clear silicone sealant to the lids keeps my child out of the bottle top.

    Hope this helps any additional readers.

  71. these can be made with plastic water bottles as well. Also small baby food bottles to carry in your bag for when you have a wait at say the Dr or a non kid friendly meeting where your child just needs a distraction. I have one on my desk. It’s awesome for me too!

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  74. This is a wonderful and lovely idea. I saw it as a pin on pinterest and the pinner had tagged it as a great alternative to a time out!!! I had thought that giving an angry child a glass jar was a bit nutty so I am really glad i bothered to click through and find the real story. Your use to overcome anxiety is much more appropriate and brilliant. I hope Pix gets to grips with Kindergarden soon.

  75. I just made this for my almost two year old son. I didn’t use any “extra glitter” but I did add way more glitter glue than you suggested. I also added food coloring. I think the extra glue would have been nice because the glitter in the glue is a little too tiny for my little guy to really see what is going on in there. However, I used glow in the dark glitter glue and it is really awesome! When you shake it, the whole jar glows. As it settles, the top becomes dimmer and dimmer while the bottom glows much brighter. Very cool! Thank you so much for the idea!

  76. I made this today and all my glitter sinks within 30 seconds. I used Crayola glitter glue (the tiny tubes) and a small jar of blue glitter from Michaels. I’m so bummed!

  77. You need to add something to increase the density of the liquid, or use small glitter, or increase the buoyancy of the glitter through oil plus an emulsifier which essentially allows the oil to mix with the water and bind to the glitter, making the glitter lighter.

    HTH,
    Robert~

  78. I really want to make one or more of these ASAP for my children, my oldest is having behavior issues – mostly just controlling himself before he acts issues and I’m hoping this will help. Can anyone tell me if the plastic water or pop bottles sealed with hot glue work? And if glycerin or glitter glue work better??? Thanks!
    Amanda

  79. I made them both ways and liked the glycerin better. Be sure to use a fine glitter. Add more glycerin to increase the time the glitter takes to fall.

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  81. Hey, i made this today with my boys 4 and 18mths = they loved making it esp the 18mth – we used glitter glue from hobbycraft (UK) blue and silver and red free pour glitter – also used near boiling water from the kettle as our hot water isnt super hot.,. first clumped then after a big stir and shake sorted itself out. the mix of colours make an awesome purple hue! Thanks for this, we’ll see if it works – also used a large glass jar.

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  83. So I made this and none of my glitter settled. It’s just floating all around and looks like a jar full of glitter water. Any way of fixing this?

  84. Kristyn,
    Add rubbing alcohol to lower the density of the water. That helps keep the glitter from floating. Be aware, though, that more alcohol means the glitter will fall more rapidly. It also isn’t as non-toxic (but IMO still safe).

  85. Okay, I also put it in a plastic peanut butter container. Is that why it’s all sticking to the side? Should I put it in a glass jar instead? Also, I stirred it instead of shaking it. Lol all around fail!

  86. Kristyn,
    The reason the glitter is sticking to the sides is static electricity (PB residue isn’t helping, either). Glass would definitely be a better choice (but breakable) or use a different type of glitter. :D

  87. Thanks for your help, Robert! I added a little rubbing alcohol and switched to a glass jar and now it works great. My son thanks you too! :)

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  89. We made this today, ours was a bit clumpy too, but it was old glue, still pretty. After a while added a little oil. so now some of the sparkles sink and some float.

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  91. Is there an ingredient not listed? I made this today and my glitter glue didn’t dissolve all the way in the hot water, and the extra glitter just sits at the top of the jar. What did I do wrong?

  92. LC,
    Not all glitter are created equal. Glass, plastic, and metal each have different densities and properties. Try adding some rubbing alcohol to lower the density of the medium.

    HTH,
    Robert~

  93. Great idea! And thanks for explaining HOW to actually do it and for all the tips above… This is one of the 10 pins I want to get done in January!… hopefully simplifying my life just a little bit:-) I hope you don’t mind if I list it on my blog – all credit to you of course (I’ll remove it right away if that’s a problem)

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