This nebula calm down jar is a perfect mix of calming sensory play and science, all wrapped up into a fun project! With only a few ingredients, you will have captured a little but of outer space in a jar, with a mesmerizing calming effect.
We made this calm down jar in a mason jar for my older kids because they happen to love them. But, I would advise a plastic jar for a true calming tool, just in case it gets thrown. Bonus, in a plastic jar, this becomes a really fun toy for babies to play with too!
Why make a nebula calm down jar?
I have written before about how raising spirited kids can be both challenging and rewarding. Something I get often in the comments is “well, aren’t all kids like that?” Truth is, yes. If you are a parent of a spirited child (affiliate link), you might know that their emotions seem more intense than what one would consider to be ‘normal’. However, is it true that ALL kids experience anger, sadness, hurt, etc. these are all NORMAL feelings, and it is our job as parents to help kids process them, make sense of them, and also to help them calm down when experiencing these emotions. [Related: 20 Hopes for My Spirited Child] This jar is one that I learned about while working a summer camp and just fell in love with it! The nebula calm down jar is a sensory tool that kids can use and will LOVE to look at (and make!).
We use a calm down corner in our home. Along with some of my other tips for helping a child calm down, we have some of our favorite ‘calming tools’ in our corner. One of these tools is a calm down jar. This one is made out of a mason jar which is glass. Not a safe choice as a calm down jar for kids that are mad, however this makes a great one for my older son when he is sad. Just as some people might use art or play therapy to express their emotions, my son uses sensory tools. He needs to feel and touch things, he will look at the jar, watch the glitter swirl, and talk. How important is that for processing emotions?
What you need:
What to do:
Mix various colors of water, ranging from purple to blue to green, by adding food coloring to water.
Fill a container, plastic or glass, about a third of the way with cotton balls.
Add enough of one color of water to cover the cotton balls. Add glitter.
Continue this process, adding some cotton balls, covering with a different color of water, and adding glitter, until the jar is full.
As a little scientific side-note, a nebula is a cloud of gas and dust in the galaxy. It also happens to be where a star is born, a star nursery of sorts. A fun fact for your kiddos while you make your nebula calm down jar.
RELATED: Tips for Calming the Angry Child
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