Mind Jars are a favourite at our School Holiday Yoga and Mindfulness Workshops, at School Incursions and quite honestly, also at home! It’s a fun, easy-to-use activity and a beautiful sensory tool to help kids discover how to control their emotions with breath awareness, shifting them into a much calmer space.
This exercise by Karen Young (2015) at Hey Sigmund is a great tool you can use as an educator or a parent to introduce your charges to mindfulness.
Benefits of the Mind Jar.
It helps children:
- calm down,
- and figure out that paying attention to their senses helps them regulate emotions.
- explore STEM
- sensory awareness
Follow Young’s instructions to create a mindful jar:
- At Yogazeit we like to use the Plastic VOSS bottles as they have a large bottle neck and are easy to fill and stable enough to use.
- Start with a jar and fill it half with with water.
- Into the water, add a few big dollops of glitter glue and environmentally friendly glitter (or school glue and dry glitter).
- Fill the jar up with warm water (to help dissolve the glue), secure the lid and maybe use thick tape to keep the lid in place.
- Give the jar a shake and watch the glitter settle as you take deep breaths.
Here are some words you could use:
‘Imagine that the glitter is like your thoughts when you’re stressed, mad or upset. See how they whirl around and make it really hard to see clearly? That’s why it’s so easy to make silly decisions when you’re upset – because you’re not thinking clearly. Don’t worry this is normal and it happens in all of us (yep, grownups too). [Now put the jar down in front of them.] Now watch what happens when you’re still for a couple of moments. Keep watching. See how the glitter starts to settle and the water clears? Your mind works the same way. When you’re calm for a little while, your thoughts start to settle and you start to see things much clearer.’
The beautiful part of this exercise is that while they are learning about their emotional selves, they are also engaging in an act of mindfulness as they watch the glitter fall to the bottom of the jar.