How to make a mind jar with your child
A mind jar full of water and glitter is a resource that we use with school children to provide something concrete and beautiful for their minds to focus on, in much the same way that a table gives the jar something solid to rest on.
By breathing mindfully, all of their swirling thoughts and feelings will start to settle by themselves – just like the glitter in the jar.
Making a mind jar at home is a great way to talk about the things that are worrying your child, as well as giving them a device to practise mindfulness whenever it’s needed.
Mind jars are especially great to use at bedtime, to help your child calm down and go to sleep.
Your child should choose a different colour of glitter to represent different things that worry them. As they add each colour, your child can talk to you about these worries or concerns, and talk about ways you could work through these.
Things you will need:
- Glass jar with a lid that seals tightly.
- Glitter – two or three different sizes of glitter if possible, in as many colours as you like.
- Food colouring (optional).
- Two tubes of glitter glue – Don’t skip this ingredient! If you get glitter glue with bright/dark colours this will affect the overall colour of your mind jar. We use pastel colours so we can control the water colour with food colouring. The glue is important as it thickens up the water so the glitter swirls around the jar before settling down.
- A kettle of boiling water – get an adult to help you with this.
- A stick or small whisk for stirring.
- A sheet or two of newspaper
- Place the jar on the newspaper, and pour in boiling water until it is about 1⁄4 full (ask a parent or adult helper to do this as the water is very hot and the jar heats quickly!).
- Squeeze in the two tubes of glitter glue, and use your stick or whisk to stir, stir, stir until it’s all dissolved.
- Pour in some more boiling water until the jar is about 3⁄4 full.
- Now add your glitter, one colour at a time. Talk about what each colour represents – for example, you might choose green to represent your worries about schoolwork, and blue for worrying about arguing with a sibling.
- Add a few drops of the food colouring if you’re using it, and stir again.
- Fill the jar with water right up to the top, then stir once more and leave to cool down. When it’s cold, screw the lid on tightly and ta-da! You’ve made a mind jar.
Shake it up!
When the mind jar is finished, shake it up. See how all the worries have mixed together, making it hard to focus on any one COLOUR? When our minds are stormy like this, and we don’t feel present in our bodies, it can be hard to pay attention and make kind and thoughtful choices about how to respond to the things or people that have upset or worried us.
Place the jar on a table, and sit or lie quietly, noticing as the glitter in the jar settles down on its own. Practise your mindful breathing while you watch.