Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Meditation with Kids – Mind Jar

A while back, I decided to start working in some meditation time to our day. Immediately after making that decision, I forgot about it. Well, that’s not entirely true; we’ve done a couple of meditation times as a group, but not as much as I’d planned on incorporating.

Over the last month or so that I’ve been Pinteresting things, I’ve been seeing the ‘mind jar‘ pop up over and over again. The uses are myriad; everything from an alternative to time out for littles to an actual meditation tool for kids who don’t know how to zone out. I thought that was a great idea, and wanted to make some with the kids as actual meditation tools, and for taking personal time outs when things get stressful.

Since we’ve been workboxing school, I have more awareness of the fun things that have been getting left out because we’re so focused on trying to get the ‘real’ work done. I know I said it in yesterday’s workbox update post, but that is one of the advantages of workboxing – being able to see patterns and gaps in our week. I’m using a worksheet that I originally made when I first read about workboxing. I’ve updated it now  ,here’s a blank version of mine if you’re in the market for one. Planning out the week’s plans and having a weeks’ worth of actual assignments as opposed to a general idea of what we’ll be doing is an improvement, I think.

I’ve been able to add in things that we haven’t had time for, which is awesome and ever so much more fun for them; more craft projects, more games, more time to do something one-on-one with Mom. When we first started homeschooling, I bought this book of file folder games. I made up several of them, and we used one or two, but since then, they’ve been sitting on the shelf next to our completed lapbooks. Now that I have to fill a time slot, it’s been easier to throw those in there for a supplemental math or language arts lesson and to make sure it gets done instead of skipping it because we’ve already been working on school for however long.
That’s one area for the kids that I see a benefit in. They’re expecting to have to do ALL of the boxes (however many are assigned for the day). They haven’t questioned any part of how many boxes there are as of yet. If they have 12 boxes, then they’re expecting to do them all. This was one aspect of workboxing that I liked – that they didn’t need to ask me what else they still had to do; they can see it. That aspect will be worth something to keep however we tweak the system in the coming weeks.

Back to the mind jars though…

The recipe I found originally called for glue, water and glitter. Others mentioned glycerine and a similar project that I did with my kids called for baby oil. I didn’t have any of that on hand, but what I did have was a huge bottle of styling gel that I bought eons ago and will never, ever, ever use. It’s water soluble (science lesson sneak-in there – more on that in a minute), so it worked out just fine.

We did end up adding a few drops of food coloring to the jars to make the colors pop a bit more, and it did take a little mixing-magic to get the consistency just right. The idea is to have the jar clear in about 5 minutes. The kids jars take about 5-8 minutes to get calm again (depending on how ‘clear’ you want them).

After messing with theirs so much, I decided that I needed one, too. Unfortunately we were almost out of gel by that point, so I started experimenting with other substances. I had about half a jar of hair serum (to tame frizziness) left from a long time ago so I tried that. The only problem with that was the new product was oil-based. Let’s just say that a lesson on water solubility was enjoyed by all. With glitter. In any case, I found another bottle of water-based gel in the bottom of a drawer and made a pink one with white pixie dust in it for myself. The solution is a bit thicker in my jar and the glitter is a bit lighter; it takes about 10  minutes to clear.

I do have to say that it is totally mesmerizing to watch the glitter sparkle and fall! On a scale of 1-10, I rate this an 8 for make-ability, a 5 for mess-making (with a 3 for mess-making potential – spill one of those containers of glitter and you’ll see what I mean) and a 10 for fun/usability. Add some gorilla glue under the cap to make the jars resistant/less prone to unsupervised additions and this is nearly the perfect craft.

Hope your weekend is fantastic!
Warmly,
~h

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10 responses

  1. Very Fun! My daughter has made a couple of these spontaneously in the past. She had a really lovely one with glitter and star shaped Mylar confetti.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    • Ooooohhh, we’ll have to try different shaped confetti…
      Thanks for commenting :)
      ~h

      August 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm

  2. Great idea! I’m sure I also have some old (edit: SUPER old) hair gel that I could use in this activity! I’m definitely going to do this with my son, thanks :)

    August 29, 2011 at 9:32 am

    • It’s been a hit all weekend around here!
      Thanks for commenting :)
      ~h

      August 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm

  3. Heather

    Love this idea!!! How much gel, water, and gliTter did you use for one jar?? And the jar is it essential that it is filled not quite all the way? I also was thinking of using a big clear sparkling water bottle instead of a jar so I don’t have to worry about my somewhat destructive boys breaking the jar. Do u think it’ll work?? Thanks!!

    August 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    • I just had the kids glop some in there, then added a bunch of glitter – several teaspoons worth, and then added some water and stirred to mix the gel, then added water to about a half/ three-quarters of an inch to the top.
      I ended up dumping some and adding more water – just play with the consistency until you like it. I set up a stopwatch and shook the jar, then started the timer, and made sure it was around 5 minutes, then capped with the gorilla glue to keep leaks to a minimum and unwanted additions by the kids when my back was turned. Just play wiht it until you like what you have. You pretty much can’t go wrong :)

      Thanks for commenting!!
      ~h

      August 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm

  4. I work at a small Quaker school (we’ve got 8 students in our Kindergarten through 6th grade class) and we often feel like we’ve got a home-school vibe. The students made Mind Jars last week and they loved them. It’s a great thing to stare at after conflicts. I’m also really intrigued by your workbox planning…. your blog is getting my brain going, so i’m definitely going to be checking back!

    January 23, 2012 at 10:16 am

  5. Josabet

    This is really cool, I’m going to make one for someone special as a gift, I find it really beautiful. How long can this stay inside the jar? Will it lose its function after a while?

    February 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    • We made ours back in August and now (February; 6 months later), they’re still perfect. Nothing inside them is perishable, and the Gorilla Glue keeps the kids from opening the jar and adding things to it, so I’d say they’ll last a good long while yet. Hope your recipient likes it!
      ~h

      February 16, 2012 at 12:05 am

  6. thalassa

    Reblogged this on musings of a kitchen witch and commented:
    Something we’ll be doing once school is out!

    June 2, 2013 at 4:43 am

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