This activity is for realizing our five senses. Kids will write a positive moment narrating it as in the example.
How to Make a Glitter Jar
You can use a mason jar, a spice jar, or even a plastic water bottle for this practice. Be sure to use glitter that sinks rather than floats. Adding some glycerin to the water slows down the fall of the glitter.
Fill the jar to the top with water. Have your children pick three colors of glitter: one to represent thoughts, one to represent feelings, and one to represent behaviors (or “urges to do things”). Drop a few pinches of each color glitter into the water, which represents their mind, and maybe a few drops of food coloring. Seal the jar with its lid or duct tape.
Ask the children what kinds of things will make the glitter in the jar swirl. Encourage answers that reflect distressing events (fights with siblings, losing in sports) and positive ones (getting a good grade, making a new friend), events in the foreground (sick siblings) and events in the background (scary stories on the news). With each event they name, swirl and turn the jar, demonstrating how it becomes difficult to keep track and see clearly what our thoughts, feelings, and urges are.
Your script can go something like this:
The jar is like our mind, and each color of glitter represents something different in our mind.
Let’s put in red for thoughts, gold for feelings, and silver for urges to do things. (Pour in a little bit of glitter with each comment.)
Now we seal up the jar. (Put the lid on the jar and seal it.) Then we start our day.
We wake up, and things are pretty settled. We can see that clearly. (Show how all the glitter has settled on the bottom of the jar.)
But pretty soon, things start swirling around. Maybe we are running late (swirl the jar). Our big sister eats the last pancake for breakfast, and it leads to a fight (shake the jar). We hear scary things on the news in the car ride to school (swirl the jar). We get to school and find out we aced the test (shake the jar).
Now it’s only a few minutes into the school day, and we can’t see clearly because all of our thoughts and feelings and urges are getting in the way.
So what is the one thing we can do to get the glitter to settle and see clearly again?
Be still! And what happens when we are still? We can see clearly again.
There is also no way to rush being still. We can’t push all the glitter down to the bottom. We just have to watch and wait. No amount of effort will make it settle sooner.
When things become clear, we’ll know the wise next thing to do. In fact, that’s one definition of wisdom: seeing things as they are and choosing how to act.
While we wait, does the glitter go away? No, it stays at the bottom. Our thoughts and feelings and urges are still in our minds, but they are no longer in our way, clouding our vision.
A finished glitter jar can serve as a visual timer for other practices, such as breathing practices. For example, you can shake the jar and say: “Let’s do some mindful breaths until the glitter settles.”
"We actually don’t want to get rid of the thoughts and feelings and urges. We just want them out of the way so they don’t prevent us from seeing clearly."
Gratitude Jars are a fun, artistic, and hands-on way for children to practice gratitude. In this activity, each child will create a special jar where they save gratitude statements at the end of the day.
• Clear Jar (glass or plastic)
• Art Supplies (ribbons, stickers, magazine cutouts, etc.)
• Gratitude Slips (blank strips of paper, or slips with gratitude prompts)
Begin by helping each child personalize their jar with decorations. Use ribbons, stickers, magazine cut-outs, items found in nature, or anything else you can imagine.
After decorating the jars, it’s time to add the ﬁrst three gratitude statements. A gratitude statement acknowledges something that a person appreciates or is thankful for. Participants can use the prompts on the slips provided, or they can write their own gratitudes on blank slips. Here are some examples:
“I am grateful for my cat because she makes me laugh.”
“I am thankful for the dinner I had tonight. It was my favorite: pizza!”
“I appreciate my grandma because she visited me when I was sick.”
Once the participants have written down three gratitude statements—one per slip of paper—spend a moment discussing each one. Finally, fold the gratitude statements, and add them to the jar.
Plan for children to write three gratitude statements, and add them to their jars, each day. Encourage parents to make the gratitude jar part of their daily routine, including a brief discussion about each of their child’s gratitudes. This activity works great as part of a bedtime routine.