Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Calming Jar

Yesterday morning we did a craft!  It’s something that I found on Pinterest (, and it ties in nicely with the thinking I’ve been doing about best discipline methods.  (Lance and I have been reading Grace Based Parenting, by Tim Kimmel, so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I can incorporate grace into everything, especially discipline.)  And I’ve been thinking about how to teach Judith do deal with her anger (tantrum!) without throwing things or yelling.  This project gives her something concrete to focus on during a “time out”, and I think watching it is pretty soothing.  We’ll see how it goes.  Haven’t actually had the opportunity to try it out yet.

At any rate, here’s what we did:

One empty jar (if I do this again, I will use an empty two-liter instead.  Those aren’t breakable!)
Glue (the original directions call for glitter glue – but that’s not something I use, so I didn’t have it on hand...see problems that this caused below!)
Glitter (in hindsight, I’d get the tiny glitter instead of the regular size that I got.  The higher price would have been worth the slower sinking-time.
HOT tap water - the hottest your tap will produce, but not boiling
Food coloring
Stickers  - we wanted to decorate the outside of our jar.

Materials assembled, crafter ready.
 If desired, decorate the outside of your jar with stickers (or paint, or whatever).  Just leave enough "clear" space that you'll be able to watch the contents of the jar.
we decorated our jar with Mama's favorite butterfly stickers.
 Add the glue, water, food coloring, and glitter (order doesn't matter).
adding the glue

adding the food coloring (pink, of course!)
At this point, I realized that I’d made a huge mistake in thinking I could substitute “regular” glue for glitter glue – because my regular glue was, in fact, washable.  And it pretty much dissolved in the water without thickening it at all (note the bubbles at the top of the jar!).  This is a problem because the glitter, instead of floating slowly, gracefully, calmingly down to the bottom, just drops.  So I did a quick mental review of what was in my cupboard, and started adding corn syrup, because I have it on hand.  And it worked pretty well – after a LOT was added!  I think the result is at least one-quarter corn syrup.

the final product
One more note:  as mentioned in the materials list, a light plastic bottle (such as an empty 2-liter) would much lighter, and not breakable, and therefore easier for Judith to shake up by herself.  But the empty peanut butter jar is what I had.  It just means I have to shake it up for her.

"I just love it!"
 As I mentioned above, we haven't had a temper tantrum or meltdown to try this out with.  But even if it doesn't succeed in calming Judith, we had a fun time and she'll enjoy shaking it up from time to time anyway.  And maybe I can use it myself to calm down before disciplining!