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When you think of mindfulness, do you only think of adults? It seems like such a difficult practice to master, so it should be left up to adults to try, right?
Actually, not really.
There are great ways to make mindfulness practice both fun and engaging for children. If they start to learn early, they can integrate mindfulness into their lives and begin decreasing their stress at an early age.
A mindfulness jar is just one of these fun ways to teach children to be more mindful through fun “playtime”.
By integrating mindfulness into play, movement, games, art, and visualization, you can get children excited about the concept. These are all of the natural ways that children love to learn and grow.
The importance of play for children continues to be a focus of research because experts keep unraveling reasons why play is so vital for childhood development. Simply put, children learn through play. Visualization is using the imagination to play, which is a powerful resource for children and adults alike.
Children tend to act out their problems because they have less impulse control than adults. As adults, we learn to share our problems in words. When there are no words to be found, people look for other ways to show the connections they are feeling between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
But you may have a very simple question… what is a mindfulness jar?
(Side note: Another positive way to improve your life is to read and learn something new every day. A great tool to do this is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest FREE, informative news from this website.)
What Is a Mindfulness Jar?
Call it what you wish—a mindfulness jar, a glitter jar, a mind jar, a calming glitter jar, calm down jars, DIY mindfulness jar, galaxy jar, mind-in-a-jar, or sparkle bottles—they all refer to the same healing tool.
If you want to teach your children or students about mindfulness, using a mindfulness jar is a great first step.
A mindfulness jar is simply a clear glass jar (like a mason jar) filled with water, dish soap, and glitter or glitter glue.
It is a very powerful visual metaphor for being able to express one's feelings. The glitter in the jar represents your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When a child is feeling upset or angry, he or she can shake the jar and watch the glitter move around before gradually settling. As the glitter settles to the bottom of jar, the user can relate that to their mind settling too. The cultivation of stillness after the swirling and chaos subside is quite effective.
These jars can also be used as a visual timer for short mindful breathing exercises. Many people prefer to take a few breaks during the day to gather themselves and depart from their everyday tasks.
Using a mindfulness jar to time these shorts breaks is a great way to allow yourself to focus on the break rather than how much time you have spent meditating or being mindful.
Mindfulness jars are an effective way to teach children about how their minds work when they are experiencing negative emotions, and what they can do to calm down. Adults can also use mindfulness jars as relaxation tools.
If a child is so wound up that he or she is unable to be consoled, these jars can act as a visual “anchor” to help bring their focus back to the present and into one place instead of being in many places at once, feeling like everything is out of control.
A mindfulness jar will also help by being a physical outlet to release energy in a way that is less destructive than punching, smacking, or kicking.
While the child holds the bottle and watches the glitter settle, their hands and eyes will be brought to the middle of the jar, which will help center the nervous system. The slow descent of the glitter in the jar can act as a visual model that even unconsciously helps slow their heart rate and breathing.
How to Use a Mindfulness Jar
Using a mindfulness jar is just one way to practice short bursts of mindfulness that can help you throughout the day.
If you are using a mindfulness jar with a child, instruct them to shake up the jar really fast. They will love this activity, as it allows them to move around a bit and watch the glitter swirl. Tell them that this is what their minds are like when they feel a strong emotion such as anger or frustration. Then, as the glitter settles, tell them that is the negative emotion passing by as well.
Talk about how people calm down just like the activity inside of the jar does. Also, remind them that it’s okay to feel these emotions, just like it is okay to shake the jar up. There will always be things in life that cause us to feel negativity. The important thing is how one chooses to respond. By allowing some time to pass, their minds will begin to settle, just like the glitter in the glass jar.
It is important to urge children to use their mindfulness jars even when they are not experiencing negative emotions. This will allow them to learn how to associate the jar with being calm and a positive state of mind.
Benefits of a Mindfulness Jar
Mindfulness jars have several benefits, both for children and adults. One of the best things about them is that you can use them in a way that benefits you and your needs the most. While they may work to help one person control their anger, they may help another person with anxiety issues. You can interpret the metaphor of the glitter however you choose.
1. Help people calm down.
If you are anxious, keep your eyes on the glitter and watch it slowly start to fall to the bottom of the jar. Connect your feelings of anxiety to the glitter, and allow your breath to slow with the glitter and come back to your safe space. This can help reduce anxiety or help you calm down if you are feeling angry.
2. Teach focusing skills.
While watching the mindfulness jar in motion, focus only on the glitter in motion. Don't allow yourself to get distracted by any surrounding sounds or movement. This will help teach focus skills and encourage children to live in the present moment.
3. Help regulate emotions.
Think of your chaotic emotions acting like the chaotic glitter inside of the mindfulness jar. Then consider how you can regulate your emotions, just as the glitter is regulating itself. As the child is able to see that the jar becomes clear again once the glitter has settled, they will be able to relate that to their own minds becoming clear after being disturbed.
This will also teach children to stop and take a pause to think before reacting to anything. This will allow them to learn how to respond to a negative situation with skill instead of just impulsively reacting.
4. Increase sensory awareness.
Think about the sound of the water, the feeling of the glass, and the visual picture of the glitter as it is moving. Concentrate on each one of these things during the exercise.
5. Increase self-awareness.
When teaching children about mindfulness, ask them what kinds of events could make the glitter swirl (meaning what could happen to them in their real lives to elicit an emotion). For each named event, the glitter can help demonstrate to the children how they can be more self-aware, and how it may be difficult at times to keep track of all of their thoughts and emotions.
DIY Recipe for a Mindfulness Jar
This great recipe adapted from HeartMindKids is simple, and only uses a few ingredients that are all easy to find at the store.
What you will need to make a Glitter-Jar or a Mindfulness Jar
1. A mason jar (or, if you would rather, you can use a spice jar)
2. Warm water
3. Clear glue
5. Glitter glue (optional)
6. Food coloring (optional)
How to Make a Mindfulness Jar
First, fill your clear glass jar with clear glue. The amount of glue that you add will depend on how long you want the glitter to move around the jar before settling at the bottom. The more glue you add, the longer the glitter will take to settle.
Then add a tablespoon (or more) of glitter to the jar, as well as some warm water. Gently shake the jar or stir it with a spoon to combine the glue, water, and glitter together. Then fill the jar the rest of the way with warm water. Seal the cap of the jar closed using a hot glue gun.
Here is a helpful video with step-by-step instructions.
Viewing this tutorial will allow you to see what the jar is supposed to look like at every stage of the project. The instructor chooses to make a blue mindfulness jar (which she refers to as a “calm down jar”), and uses several shades of blue glitter along with blue food coloring to create her project.
It also talks about some of the hazards of making the mindfulness jars with children and urges parents to make them alone before presenting them to their children.
Mindfulness jars are a great tool for children and adults alike to use to help regulate emotions and take a minute to be at peace and calm down.
They are easy and inexpensive to make and are a fun project to share with your children. You can choose to make your mindfulness jar with any color glitter that you like so it can be personalized to your preferences.
Finally, if you want another positive way to improve your life, then read and learn something new every day. A great tool to do this is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest FREE, informative news from this website.
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