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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Take a shake break

First suggested by Mind, SAMH, Inspire NI
Shake away your fears and doubts as we see how mindfulness can help us take our minds off our problems

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You’ll need

  • Craft materials (for example, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, stickers)
  • PVA glue
  • Tables
  • Clean, see-through plastic jars or bottles with water-tight lids
  • Towels
  • A large jug of warm water
  • Eco-friendly, biodegradable glitter
  • Tablespoons
  • A ruler
  • A felt pen
  • Hot glue gun and glue

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Setting up this activity

  • Make sure that all of the jars are clean and see-through. They should then use a ruler and a pen to mark a spot on each jar about one or two centimetres up from the base.
  • Assemble the arts and crafts supplies, jars, glitter, spoons and towels on a large table with a smooth surface. There should be one jar per person and one for the person leading the activity.

Run the activity

  1. Gather everyone together and explain to the group what ‘mindfulness’ is. Mindfulness is a technique you can learn, which involves making a special effort to notice what’s happening in the present moment (in your mind, body and surroundings) without judging anything. It aims to help you be more self-aware, calmer and less stressed, feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings, and to cope with difficult and unhelpful thoughts.
  2. Tell everyone they'll be making their own mindfulness jars to help them feel calmer when they might be stressed or frustrated.
  3. Everyone should fill their jar with the PVA glue up to the point marked on the jar, which is between one and two centimetres from the base.
  4. Now, everyone should add a tablespoon of glitter to their jar.
  5. An adult volunteer should get a jug of warm water. This can be from a hot tap or from a kettle, but it should not be too hot. The adult volunteer should fill each jar from the warm water jug to about an inch from the top.
  6. With adult supervision, everyone should gently should stir the contents of their jar with a tablespoon and then fix their lids on to their jars.
  7. Dry each jar with a towel to remove any spilled water or condensation.
  8. An adult volunteer should go around the table and make sure that each lid is securely fastened and test each jar to make sure that none of the contents can leak out. An adult could also choose to use a hot glue gun to secure the lids. 
  9. The person leading the activity should prepare their own jar in the same way, before demonstrating the mindfulness technique to the group. They should stand and hold the jar out in front of you tightly with two hands. Shake the jar for thirty seconds and then stop. Watch the glitter inside the jar continue to move around until it settles down again.
  10. Explain that the glitter is like your thoughts and feelings, while the jar is like your mind. Often, it can be nice to have things settle down, so that you can chill out, think about choices and make smart decisions.
  11. Everyone should hold out their jars and shake them for thirty seconds, taking care not to drop them. After thirty seconds, everyone should stop, sit and watch the glitter in their jars in silence until it settles. They should use this time to breathe deeply, calm down and focus.
  12. Invite the group to take their jars away with them to use at times when they feel stressed, anxious or unhappy.
Logo containing the words Scouts for SDGs. The O in Scouts is made up of 17 coloured segments, representing the 17 goals.

This activity helps contribute towards some of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more about the SDGs, and how Scouts across the world are getting involved.

Logo with the number 3 and the words good health and wellbeing, with a zig zag line and a heart underneath.


The group have made some mindfulness jars. Did they enjoy making the jars themselves? Did lots of people decide to take their jar home with them?

Shaking the jars helps put things in perspective, placing you on the outside looking into your own head. What did the group see happening in their jars? Has anyone ever felt the way that their jar was - with the pieces of glitter swirling and shifting? Will it be helpful for anyone to have a shake break every now and then to relax and take stock?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Glue and solvents

Always supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions that could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.

Hot tools

Tools, such as irons and glue guns, produce a lot of heat. Never touch the hot metal parts. Use them under adult supervision and on a suitable surface, protecting it if necessary. Never leave hot tools unattended and be careful near combustible materials such as wood, textiles, or paper. Make sure there’s a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit (with items to treat burns) nearby. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use. You may need to use gloves and safety goggles with glue guns.

This might be the first time that a young person has explored the issue of mental health or thought about speaking with someone about this. If a young person shares their own mental health problems, let them know they can talk to you afterwards and that Childline offers free confidential counselling 24 hours a day.

They can call on 0800 1111 or go online to chat one-to-one with a counsellor at:

Everyone may sit or stand for this activity, whichever is most comfortable.

Assist anyone who needs help with the arts and crafts supplies.

Seek mental health guidance for activity leaders.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Consider using different shapes or sizes of glitter to represent different aspects of life (e.g. thoughts, feelings, interests, responsibilities).

Discover more at