You will need
- Craft materials (for example, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, stickers)
- PVA glue
- Clean, see-through jars with water-tight lids
- A large jug of warm water
- Eco-friendly glitter
- A ruler
- A felt pen
Before you begin
- The person leading the activity should 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.
- The person leading the activity should 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
- The person leading the activity should explain to the group what ‘mindfulness’ is. Explain that they will be making their own mindfulness jars to practice it.
- Each person should fill their jar with the PVA glue up to the point marked on the jar (between one and two centimetres from the base).
- Each person should add a tablespoon of glitter to their jar. While they are doing this, the person leading the activity should fetch a jug of warm water. This can be from a hot tap or from a kettle, but it should not be too hot.
- The person leading the activity should fill each jar from the warm water jug to about an inch from the top. Each person should stir the contents of their jar with a tablespoon and then fix their lids on to their jars. The person leading the activity 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. Dry each jar with a towel to remove any spilled water or condensation.
- The person leading the activity should prepare their own jar in the same way, before demonstrating the mindfulness technique to the group.
- The person leading the activity should 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.
- 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.
- Invite the group to take their jars away with them to use at times when they feel stressed, anxious or unhappy.
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, here.
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?
- Glue and solvents
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 which could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.
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: childline.org.uk/get-support/