SPARKLERS / Managing emotions

Glitter timers

A tool that promotes emotional and physical calm.
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Why we love it

Fun to make and ever-popular, glitter timers promote mindfulness by giving tamariki a calming visual ‘anchor’ for mindful breathing – focusing on calm breathing while the Glitter Soother settles.

Whether kept in the classroom or taken home, glitter soothers can help tamariki find calm when they feel upset or anxious, supporting the transition from co-regulation to self-regulation.

What you'll need

We'd suggest enlisting parent helpers, especially with young tamariki. You will also need:

  • One pretty plastic bottle or jar per student, with the label removed (for a beautiful class one, these are fantastic and in many supermarkets)
  • Clear paste – wallpaper paste is a great option, and cheap!
  • Hot (but not boiling) water
  • A whisk
  • A mixing bowl/jug with a pouring spout (or a regular bowl and funnel)
  • Glitter
  • Super glue
  • Optional: sequins, beads, shells, plastic jewels, etc.
  • Optional: Food colouring (1-2 drops per bottle to maintain visibility)

What to do

Ensure bottles and jars are clean, with the labels removed. Then:

  1. Make your liquid, using 20% glue and 80% hot water.
  2. Whisk well, then add glitter and your optional goodies.
  3. Whisk again, then pour it into the bottle, leaving 2-3cm at the top.
  4. Add the lid and shake the bottle/jar to ensure it’s working.
    - If the glitter is not moving: pour it back into the bowl, add hot water and whisk well, before returning it to the cleaned out bottle.
    - If the glitter falls too fast: pour it back into the bowl, clean your jar/bottle, then add some more glue to the mix, and whisk well.
    - If it’s globby: It probably needed more mixing! Vigorous shaking might help or you might need to remove the mixture, heat and stir it.
  5. Leave for five minutes, and if you’re still happy with the consistency, super glue the lid in place (to avoid future spills!) and add their name.

To round things off, ask tamariki to shake their bottle then put it down, and see if they can wait for the glitter to settle on the bottom before they re-shake it.

This is a good time to encourage tamariki to think about their breathing. Discuss how our minds can sometimes be like the Glitter Timer – mixed up, chaotic and overwhelmed, but by slowing down and breathing we can help our minds to settle and calm in just the same way.

Students could keep these with their Sensory kete or in your calm space – where you might like to keep your class one.

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