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Westcoast Calm Jar

During this time of crisis and self isolation it is important to remember that our children are also absorbing everything around them. Their world has changed over night and this dramatic change can bring with it challenging behaviours. One tool that can help manage big emotions is a Calm Jar. Calm jars are used to help children literally calm down. By agitating the bottle a kaleidoscope of colour fills the inside and slowly settles. It can be a powerful teaching tool on how to take space with our own kaleidoscope of emotions. As we sit, breathe and watch the bottle return to normal we can gain the time we need to allow big feelings to disperse. We return to being calm, centred and focused. It is not just for kids! We can all benefit from using a visual aid to help gain mastery over our emotions. Traditionally a calm jar contains glitter but I wanted to try and create a Westcoast version that is more earth friendly. The end result resembles the rolling ocean waves captured inside a bottle!


1 large clear bottle

  • plastic or glass with a secure lid

Blue food colouring

  • watercolour pigment can be substituted

Vegetable oil



Clean bottle thoroughly and remove any labels. Fill bottle 1/3 full of water. Add several drops of food colouring. Top up bottle with oil and you are done! For less mess you can use a funnel if you have one. Screw lid on securely.

Now the fun begins. Tip the bottle upside down and be mesmerised by the oil rolling through the water in a very similar fashion to ocean waves. The more you agitate the bottle the more bubbly the ocean becomes. You will be fascinated by the patterns that emerge. Set the bottle down and allow oil to settle and begin again.

To use this tool therapeutically please sit with your child or yourself, agitate bottle and watch the hypnotic pattern. Notice anything that arises. This is not a time for deep dialogue but connection and awareness. Just notice and allow it to roll away as the bottle settles. Big emotions are normal and welcome. They teach us how wonderfully alive we all are. What's important is to not hold onto our emotions so tightly that we hurt ourselves and the world around us. Be well everyone.

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