Finding Mindfulness with Glitter and Glycerine

Published Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Instructions for DIY mindfulness jars

Each week, the JCC’s youth yoga instructor Nora Seilheimer teaches our youngest yogis how to create peace and monitor their own energy levels. She recently introduced a calming tool in class that her students can use anytime to navigate more challenging emotions like anger, sadness, or frustration: a mindfulness jar.

Mindfulness jars are filled with glue, glycerine, water, and glitter. Shaking them up allows the glitter to sparkle and swirl, which can offer a soothing experience for children.

“I like to discuss how when we feel mad or sad, our feelings can sometimes swirl around in our minds (like the glitter in the jar when you shake it up) making it difficult to keep ourselves calm,” she said. “But if we take deep breaths and ‘watch’ our thoughts and feelings as they move around, we begin to feel better and our thoughts settle down (like the glitter in the jar when you stop shaking it and watch the glitter fall).”

Different colors and shapes can represent different things, she said. For example, fine glitter can represent thoughts. Chunky glitter can represent feelings. Star glitter can represent hopes and dreams.

“Allow children to be creative and choose what each type of glitter means to them,” Nora said. “Their explanations for why a particular color represents their thoughts or why another color is their emotions can be quite enlightening.” 

Creating mindfulness jars can be a fun family project and can provide an opportunity to talk with your children about healthy ways to manage their thoughts and feelings. Gather enough supplies to make a mindfulness jar of your own, which can be a nice respite from a busy workday. Read below for Nora’s instructions and tips to make this project a success.

What You Need

  • Glitter of different sizes, shapes, and colors
  • Cheap tablecloth or newspaper 
  • Vegetable glycerine
  • Clear Elmers glue
  • Plastic jar or bottle with lid
  • Hot glue gun
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Cover the whole surface of your workspace for easy cleanup.
  2. Coat the bottom of the jar (about 2 to 3 centimeters) with vegetable glycerin. This is what will make the glitter swirl around more before it falls. 
  3. Fill the jar with glue until it is about ⅓ to ¼ full.
  4. Add hot water until the jar is about ¾ of the way full, leaving one to two inches from the lid. This allows space to add more glue and also helps minimize splashing when stirring in the glitter.
  5. The best step! Add glitter. It is impossible to have too much glitter. Stir along the way to check how the glitter moves, making sure it's the speed and swirl you want. 
  6. Screw the lid back on tight. Give the jar a good shake. Ooh la la!
  7. Add more glitter, glue, hot water, and vegetable glycerin as you see fit until the jar is full.
  8. Screw the lid back on and make sure everything is just as you want it. 
  9. When you’re done, hot glue the lid on to avoid leaking.

Once the glue has dried, practice using your mindfulness jars a few times together. Nora suggests setting a timer, putting on relaxing music, and taking deep, audible breaths to help children follow along. Be sure to share photos of your project with us on social media by tagging the JCC!

The next Little Yoga class for children ages 4 to 5 will start on January 16, 2020. Click here to register. For more information about Early Childhood Classes (Uptown), contact Amanda Taylor. For more information about Youth Classes, contact Brigid MacArthur-Thompson (Uptown) or Terrance Perkins (Metairie).

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