Mindfulness in the Classroom- Mind Jar Meditation

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An important part of teaching children mindfulness strategies is the understanding, identifying and accepting of emotions by the child. We all have emotions and they can range from blissfully happy to desperate despair to full blown anger. These and other emotions that come between can be just as mystifying and hard to control.

How many times have you told a child to, “Calm Down!”? You tell them to breathe. But, sometimes the emotions are far to scary. The fight or flight reflex is strong and being able to identify the emotions they feel can be very difficult. They need to and want to understand their emotions. It is once they can identify what they are feeling that they can independently identify the mindful strategy that will work for them in that moment.

This is where the Mind Jar comes in! You may have seen it called different names: calm jar, mind bottle, stress bottle,etc. It really is a simple idea and easy to make.

How to make a Mind Jar:
(There are many useful guides online to show you how to make this. I will share what I have done.)

1- Find a clean jar or a small drinks bottle.
2- Fill the jar/bottle 3/4 full with warm water. (Not hot!)
3- Add a few drops of food colouring of your choice.
4- Add the glitter. I like using the finest glitter I can find and use a combination of glitter glue and loose glitter. The warm water helps to dilute the glue but the glue also thickens the water; allowing the glitter to stay suspended for a little longer.
5- Add water to fill the jar/bottle and close tightly.
6- Give it a good shake and watch the glitter swirl around the bottle and slowly settle.

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Another version that works well:

1- Find a clean jar or a small drinks bottle.
2- Fill the jar/bottle 3/4 full with warm water. (Not hot!)
3- Add approximately 2 tablespoons of glitter paint.
4- Add another tablespoon of glitter. The warm water helps to dilute the glue but the glue also thickens the water; allowing the glitter to stay suspended for a little longer.
5- Add water to fill the jar/bottle and close tightly.
6- Give it a good shake and watch the glitter swirl around the bottle and slowly settle.

How to use a Mind Jar:

1- Shake the jar and then set it down.
2- As you watch the glitter swirling, do deep belly breathes; allowing yourself to calm and settle as the glitter calms and settles.
3- Repeat as needed.

You should explain to children that the swirling glitter is like what happens in our heads when we are upset, mad, angry, anxious, etc. The thoughts swirling about all are mixed, moving quickly in and out of our mind. Breathing allows us to calm those thoughts, focusing our mind only on the glitter as it slows and settles, like our thoughts; so we can identify the emotions we are having and make the right choices on what to do next.

Here is a lovely video on the same idea that you may want to share with children.
Mind in a jar- Planting Seeds- The Power of Mindfulness for Children
http://youtu.be/QNmMH6tqiMc

Does it work?

Yes it does work for both children and adults!

In classrooms, I see the children thoughtfully choosing the mind jar when they are upset, giving it a good shake and breathing deeply. For some children it takes a few shakes, but I see their shoulders relax and they breathing steady. They may then continue on to do other mindfulness strategies. But, they have recognised their emotions and are choosing to calm themselves down.

For adults, it works in a similar way. I have a mind jar on my desk. As a Principal, I have staff come to speak to me for many different things, some are very emotional. Not one adult has been able to resist grabbing the bottle and giving it a good shake and take a few moments to watch the glitter settle. It is a good visual reminder to help calm the mind of the swirling thoughts.

One small mindfulness strategy can make the world of difference!

I would love to hear about your successes with the mind jar.

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One thought on “Mindfulness in the Classroom- Mind Jar Meditation

  1. Pingback: Mindfulness in the Classroom- A Teacher’s Mindfulness | Education's Voice

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