Have you ever been so upset that you just need to get your mind off of things before you can calm down? Like you just need to walk away and focus on something else before you can respond? We all get like that. Adults. Kids. It happens to the best of us. Now that I'm an adult, I can recognize that I'm upset and use coping strategies. Children are still learning coping strategies, and some kids need a little extra help. My middle child, who has autism, is one of those kids who needs a little extra help with calming. I made him this calming glitter bottle so he could self-regulate. They are also good for anxiety in kids too. This is one of the easier autism DIY projects that I've done, and it's gotten a lot of use. Even my neurotypical daughter likes to look at it.
There are a few different ways to make these calming bottles. I was definitely going for easy, so I wanted to use as few ingredients as possible. I chose to use glitter glue and skip the clear glue. I did add some fine glitter as well because I had it. I think it would okay with just the glitter glue, but this gives it a little more dimension since there are two sizes of glitter falling at different rates.
What You Need
- Empty bottle (I used an Ice drink bottle)
- Colored glitter glue
- Hot water
- Super fine glitter
- Super glue
From my experimenting, this is not an exact science. I'll tell you how I made mine, then I'll tell you how to modify it.
My bottle was 8 ounces. I wanted to use 2 ounces of glitter glue and 6 ounces of hot water. I mixed them in a Pyrex measuring cup so I could get them mixed well. You have to use hot water or the glue won't mix well.
Then I poured it in to the container and added some fine glitter. I used Martha Stewart glitter because I use it for crafting. I just put about 1/4 of the container in. Maybe less. It wasn't a lot of glitter.
Then I shook it well. It seemed kind of thin, so I added some more glitter glue. Then I topped it off with warm water and shook it well. I played with it a few times to make sure the glitter took a few minutes to fall and then super glued the cap shut.
I've also seen recipes that use clear glue and water. Supposedly you can use cold water for these. I don't know as I didn't try that.
This isn't an exact recipe. If you want the glitter to settle slower, use more glue. If you want it to settle quicker to use it as a timer, use less glue and more water.
As I mentioned, I used super fine glitter as well as the glitter glue. I had it here already and I wanted a little more sparkle in it. I think it would work either way.
I've seen this done with mason jars. I would have loved to have used one, but I'm afraid it would have gotten broken. This travels with us in our therapy bag, so weight was also a concern.
Our calming glitter glue bottle got lost for a few weeks. When I found it, all of the glitter was stuck on the bottom, and I was pretty sure that it was trash. I shook it up and let it sit upside down for a day. It took some shaking every few hours, but I got the glitter to release. It's as good as new now.
I use this to help my son self-regulate. When he's reached the yellow zone and is about to hit his red zone, this helps him focus on something so he can calm down. He also likes to watch it when he's supposed to be sitting still like in church or before an appointment when he can't have electronics or something noisy.
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