My twins attend Pre-K in town and we are extremely fortunate that they have a wonderful teacher. Ms. O is enthusiastic, bubbly, and creative. The first time I met her I felt that she was born to be a pre-school teacher. Most importantly, the kids love her and look forward to going to class every day.
Last week was back-to-school night, and during her presentation Ms. O mentioned Settle Down Jars. She showed us a jar with glitter and colored liquid inside. She showed us a special corner of the room where the children could go if they were feeling upset or angry. In this place, they would take the settle down jar and shake it. After they shook the jar, they could hold it or put it on a shelf and watch the glitter and sparkles tumble around the water in the jar until they all reached the bottom. While the kids watched the the sparkles in the jar they could take some deep breaths and settle down too. The idea is that their behavior can mirror the sparkles in the jar and they will eventually calm down.
I thought this was a wonderful idea, both in a visual and emotional sense. Even as an adult I love colors and glitter (try telling me you don’t!), so I knew it would be fun to make with the kids. In addition, who doesn’t need an extra tool in their arsenal to calm tantrums?
Yesterday, while the twins’ big brother was at school, we decided to make settle down jars of our own. After giving it some careful consideration, I opted to make settle down bottles (out of plastic) because the thought of an angry preschooler shaking a glass jar full of colored water and glitter was enough to make me need a settle down glass of wine.
For the bottles, we had two large plastic Snapple bottles that we saved from the recycling bin. I peeled off the labels and used a magic eraser to erase the numbers they stamp on the side. There was some sticky residue from the labels which I removed with a little bit of cooking oil on a paper towel. Quick tip: I’ve found that cooking oil (the cheapest kind you can get) is great at removing all sorts of sticky residue from jars, bottles, pretty much anything. After the bottles were clean both inside and out, we began to make our settle down bottles.
What we used:
(Please note: not all these items are necessary, but are just what we used)
- Large plastic iced tea bottle (approx. 20 oz.). I would recommend using a bottle that’s a little thicker than some of the thinner plastic water bottles that are available to avoid leaks or mishaps.
- Warm water (enough to fill the bottle)
- Glitter glue (whatever color(s) you choose)
- Glitter (optional)
- Food coloring
- Plastic confetti (again this is optional but as I was gathering supplies for this project I realized I have become a bit of a party supply hoarder, so I had some in my supply bin)
- Duct Tape (optional)
- Ribbon (optional)
- Stickers (optional)
- Glue (optional)
These bottles are pretty simple to create, and it’s fun to let the kids help out. My twins are 4, and they really enjoyed adding their own personal touches to their bottles.
- Fill the bottles with water, leaving about an inch and a half of empty space to the top
- Add glitter glue, glitter and plastic confetti
- Add food coloring. Don’t add too much or too many colors or you’ll end up with murky looking water! We chose blue for one and purple for another (about 4-5 drops of color for each bottle)
- Screw the plastic lid on
- If desired, secure duct tape over the lid to create a completely leak-proof seal. This was my own idea, and although it’s not exactly pretty, I just feel better having done it.
- If desired, secure ribbon around rim of duct tape with glue. (I ended up using school glue but had to re-glue the edges with super glue)
- Place a sticker on top of the lid, if desired
I would advise not to put any stickers or decorations on the outside of the bottles, because the point is to see all the sparkles that are inside and not be distracted by anything else.
Once the glue that attaches the ribbon to the top is dry, these bottles are ready to go!
It’s also important for the kids to know that these are special bottles to shake if they are angry or upset, rather than to use as toys (unless that’s what you want them for!)
Good luck and let me know if you decide to make these!