We love the glitter ball. (We posted about it here.) It’s really our favorite way to teach kids about their brains. Kids and adults immediately get it. It’s easy to understand and a great tool to pick up and use when you’re feeling overwhelmed. (Almost every person who works at Momentous Institute has a glitter ball on their desk, and it’s pretty common to hear us telling our co-workers, “Settle your glitter. It’s going to be okay.”)


One of the questions we get a lot is, “Where can I get one of those glitter balls?” So we wanted to give you a way to take the lesson and make it yourself. It’s the glitter jar!


Here’s what you need:


  •  A small jar or container. We use plastic spice jars with a screw-on lid. A baby food jar would work too.   
  • Glitter glue
  • Extra fine glitter
  • Water 

And here’s how you do it!


Step One:


Fill the jar almost to the top with water.


Step Two:


Add in some glitter glue. We’ve found about 4-5 seconds of squeezing does the trick. (But you can always experiment, dump it out, and try again.)


Step Three:


Add just the teensiest bit of glitter. Trust us, you don’t need a whole lot. We recommend the tip of a spoonful (but again, feel free to experiment!)


Step Four:


Screw the lid back on! Make sure it’s tight. If you’re doing this with little kids, you’ll want to really check all the bottles to make sure those lids are on there, or you’ll end up with a wet, glittery mess.


Step Five:


Shake it up! Then hold it steady. Watch the glitter fall. Take some deep breaths.

Here’s what we say to kids as we do this activity (with the ball or the jar.)


Look at the glitter jar. It is like your brain. Now shake it up! This is your brain when you are excited, scared, angry, happy, sad, or feeling any BIG emotion. Wow! Look at all that glitter. It is hard to see clearly. Do you think that when our brains are like this that we are able to make good decisions? Do you think we are able to learn and use our brains?


So, what do we need to do? (The kids will say, “Let the glitter fall!”) That’s right, we need that glitter to settle. Let’s hold it really steady. Let’s take some breaths together. Breathe in. Breathe out. Wow, look at the glitter settle at the bottom. Now let’s look through. Can you see to the other side? Do you think our brains are ready and able to learn now? Take a look and see that the glitter is still there. Our big emotions don’t just go away. We still carry them with us. But now we know how to settle our glitter and get our brains thinking clearly.


Do you ever need to settle your own glitter? We definitely recommend making an extra glitter jar for yourself. We all need to settle our glitter from time to time!


We first learned about “settling our glitter” from Susan Kaiser Greenland. For this and many other ideas of ways to bring mindfulness into your home or school, check out her book, The Mindful Child.

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The Effect of Cell Phones on Dopamine in the Brain

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