I was recently browsing through Pinterest looking for calming down tools. Many of my students with special needs get stressed at the beginning of the year with new teachers, new students and new schedules. Teachers come to me pretty quickly looking for tools to add to a calming center. The students really benefit from an activity that is calming and gets them to refocus when they are upset. I thought I would be proactive this year and have some things ready to go.
On Pinterest several Preschool teachers were posting about calming bottles or glitter jars. Basically glitter and glue or glitter glue are added to water in a bottle and shook up. The glitter swirls in the water very slowly until it settles to the bottom. If a child is upset they usually settled down by the time the glitter has reached the bottom. The swirling glitter distracts them.
This looked like an ideal activity for a calming center for my elementary students. In fact it is so relaxing I might use it on occasion myself. The picture really doesn’t do the swirling glitter justice. It is quite mesmerizing watching glitter swirl.
Preschool Inspiration has directions for 6 Ways to Make a Calm Down Bottle using materials from craft stores or a dollar store. I can’t really improve on her directions so made a link from her blog name, just click on it. For my bottles, I used glitter glue from the dollar store, sequins, and glitter stars. It took a bit of experimenting to get it right. I found round clear bottles work the best. I tried a shower soap bottle that was flat, but the water didn’t swirl as well so the glitter didn’t remain suspended. You may also want to put a little food coloring in. I found out that a little drop goes a long way. My green bottle actually started out too dark. After you get it working the way you want it, make sure to hot glue the cover on tight. You wouldn’t want the bottle to be opened.