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What’s a mind jar and how does it work?

Like many of the best things in life, a mind jar is simple, inexpensive and effective. Made from a glass or plastic jar and just a few other ingredients, it’s a meditation tool to use when a child – or adult – feels stressed, overwhelmed, angry or upset. A mind jar helps a person appreciate mindfulness, express their feelings and respond to situations skillfully, rather than impulsively reacting.

How it Works
To make a mind jar:

  • Start with a lidded glass or plastic jar.
  • Mix a tablespoon of colored glitter glue with about a cup of hot water.
  • Add food coloring and more glitter. You can opt for chunkier glitter or flower or other sequins for more variety.
  • Tighten the lid. Voila! It’s that easy.

The glue makes the water thick and gooey, so after a child shakes the mind jar and then holds it still or puts it down, the glitter slowly and gently swirls around. It takes about five minutes for all the glitter to settle – a perfect span of time for a person to calm down and gather their thoughts.

Alternative to a Time Out
When you shake a mind jar, you can imagine your head full of whirling thoughts, then watch them slowly settle as you relax. Even adults can’t put them down, and they can be a great alternative to a “time out” for children.

Watching the glitter settle and noticing your breath as you do so helps you learn to self-regulate your emotions and allow reactive tendencies to settle along with it. Eventually, you can see more clearly through the jar as you teach yourself to allow your mind to settle.

Calm Down Baskets
As an addition or alternative to a mind jar, you can create a calm down basket. Fill it with short books about feelings, such as Hands are Not for Hitting and All Kinds of Feelings. You also can add a coloring book and a jar full of calm down tasks. Tasks may include “Do a puzzle, take 10 deep breaths, think of a beautiful beach” or “Draw a picture of your favorite ice cream.”

You also can include a rice box, which is a wooden box filled with rice. Add a few shiny marbles or small, smooth stones and perhaps a bamboo stick for stirring. Children can look in the box for “hidden treasures” as another means of calming their emotions.

Often, all it takes is a little time and creativity to build a great toolbox for use with therapy students of all ages.

For additional therapy tips and resources – as well as career growth opportunities – contact the specialized team at Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services today.


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