Timer Final

When time out time came for bad behavior, I found myself with a little girl screaming, kicking walls and not able to even calm down enough to learn her lesson. This was getting worse and worse, and I told my husband, “There has to be a better way.” After some online research, I found something called a mind jar. This is a jar filled with water, clear gel glue, and ultra-fine glitter. You shake it and the glitter settles slowly, which is very relaxing to watch. I loved the idea of getting my daughter to focus on something else in order to relax. Now, instead of watching the clock or setting a timer, she can use her own, relaxing method for time outs. All it takes is a water bottle to get started!


  • a water bottle that will fit in your child's hands
  • clear gel glue
  • super glue
  • glitter
  • hot water


    1. timer 1Remove the label from the water bottle.

    2. Fill the bottle about 3/4 of the way with hot water, then add a bottle of glitter glue and a small tube of glitter.

    3. timer 2Screw on the cap and play with the mixture until it takes about five minutes (our standard time out time!) for the glitter to settle at the bottom of the bottle. Add more clear gel glue to make it go slower or more water to make it settle faster.

    4. Super glue the cap onto the water bottle so it can't come off in your child's hands.

    timer 3

    We used purple and pink because those are my girl's favorite colors (right now), but you can make this with any color glitter. I hope it helps with your time outs!

Johanna Spaulding is a youth minister's wife and a stay-at-home-mom of three. She hopes to stay connected to other moms and connect with new ones through her blog about life, being in a ministry family, motherhood, homemaking and everything in between. See her blog at My Crazy Blessed Life.

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  • jeanne

    i like it give me some more

  • Serena Uilani Camacho

    I want to ask does it matter what type glitter should be using for this activity?

    • http://flickr.com/absurdnes Absurdnes

      You can use whatever glitter, I have found that using regular glitter is too heavy and floats down to the bottom within a minute no matter how much glue you put in the bottle. Extra fine glitter, or “glitter dust” http://www.michaels.com/artminds-extra-fine-glitter/M10226100.html works best. :) Hope this helps!

  • CasperJBone

    My Bestie and I, both 43 years of age, decided to try these. They are amazing! She made one for me and put stickers all over it and it turned out great!! We we’re throwing around the idea to make one for a Halloween party favor. Orange and Black or Orange and Purple glitter being used.

  • myladydove

    Glitter jars are super cool! You can add a tiny drop of food coloring to tint the water. I also like to add a little bit of Plaid Glo-Away Glow-in-the-dark Gel so they glow in the dark. Interestingly it doesn’t make the water cloudy. I’ve also tried glow-in-the-dark glitter but found that it’s not too effective. Plaid Glo-Away is enough. All that being said, and this isn’t directed at any one person in particular but to all parents in general, I’m not sure how sitting in a chair watching a pretty glitter jar is punishment. It’s actually not: It’s a reward. If the child is experiencing anxiety and truly needs to calm down (I’ve recommended these to my dentist, for instance) then this would be an approach worth exploring. If the child is on a time-out for bad behavior, for example because she harmed another person or creature or intentionally destroyed property, and then she proceeds to react to the punishment by throwing a tantrum, then giving her a glitter jar would be inappropriate. Not only is the tantrum being reinforced, so is the initial negative behavior. Child misbehaves (hits sister for example) -> child gets sent to designated time-out place -> child throws tantrum -> child receives super cool glitter jar to play with. Now the child has learned that when she hits her sister she will go to the time-out place where, if she kicks and screams enough, she will receive the pretty jar. The question is, “What is causing the child to throw tantrums when faced with a time-out?” Are time-outs traumatic for the child? For example, are they too long (think one minute per age: a two year old gets two minutes, three year old gets three minutes, etc.), or are they in a scary place (cold, dark basement; attic with creepy clown doll in the corner staring at her, seemingly taunting her)? Are the tantrums the result of the reward that she receives for having them? Is she misbehaving in the first place because she isn’t receiving enough attention, then the threat of being isolated and receiving even less attention causes the tantrum which gains her the attention she has been craving, in which case, the “solution” (time-out) is actually the problem. An alternative explanation could be that she is getting punished when she really isn’t misbehaving, and that MOM is the one who needs a two minute break. Either way, it doesn’t sound as if the time-outs are effective; otherwise, the negative behavior would have been extinguished thus no further need for time-outs or for glitter jars to soothe the protesting child. A big mistake parents often make is “bringing out a bigger hammer.” If the two minute time-out didn’t work they increase it to three minutes. When that is ineffective they increase it to four minutes and so on. At this point a new plan of action needs to be formulated. I’m not saying glitter jars can’t be effective tools. A more useful way to use them, though, would be to use them as rewards: “You’re doing an awesome job playing nicely with your sister. Why don’t we put her down for a nap then go make a new glitter jar.” OR “Thank you for letting Mommy talk on the phone for two minutes without interrupting. Would you like to play with your glitter jar?” Actually, in this case the glitter jar could prevent the child from misbehaving by interrupting a phone conversation, for instance, thus giving the child an opportunity to learn the proper behavior: Mom gives the child the glitter jar when she needs to make an important call (by important of course I mean Mommy has some really good gossip!). Child sits quietly waiting for the glitter to settle. When it does, it’s time for Mommy to hang up, and child gets rewarded for quietly keeping herself occupied (**Did I mention putting glitter jars in the freezer for a few minutes will slow down the amount of time it takes for the glitter to settle?**) It’s very important to reward positive behavior, BUT in order to be effective, rewards should come at random intervals. In other words, you don’t go and make a new glitter jar every day when the child plays nicely with sister, but tomorrow you will, then again in 6 days, then again in 3 days, then again in 5 days. Since it’s random, she won’t know when the reward is coming, but she will know that it will come eventually as long as she keeps doing what she is doing. I could go on all day as I love both of these topics: rewards and punishments AND glitter! I’ll spare you though. My intention is not to criticize anyone’s parenting skills, but to make it easier for frustrated parents. Good Luck to all!

    • Liz

      My daughter is 2 and if she doesn’t get her way she immediately throws a tantrum. And no she isn’t in time out all day and it isnt in some creepy cold place. Shes just a very stubborn and dramatic child. Nothing like her very easy going laid back older brother. This leads to quite a few tantrums as you can imagine that a 2 yr old cannot always get her way. Putting her in time out is not a punishment, its a time for her to calm down and once she’s a little older it will be a time for her to reflect on her bad choice. I think the glitter jar will definelty help her calm down. At 2 she gets so angry and riled up over the tiniest things so when I go to put her in time out I think this will help her calm herself faster. I think the difference is that I don’t think time outs are a punishment so I don’t see this as rewarding her “during a punishment”. I use a time out as a tool to help her overloaded and frustrated self to calm down those emotions. This article sums it up much more eloquently than I can when it comes to timeouts:

      A time-out for children is not a punishment, and it seldom works when it’s used that way. Used as a punishment, it is called “benching,” like a hockey player benched in the penalty box for misconduct. A time-out for children calls for a break in the undesirable action. It stops misbehavior and gives the older child, and parents, time to reflect. Instead of viewing it as a jail sentence, the older child should be taught to view it as a way of getting herself under control: a few minutes to reflect on what went wrong and how to make it right. Whether you call your strategy “time-out” or “benching” is often psychological semantics. The real issue is does it work? When our two-year-old is disruptive at the dinner table, we plant him on the nearby piano bench for two minutes. Oftentimes, just the warning “piano bench” is enough to stop his misbehavior. In this case, we call our strategy a “reminder.” Between two and three years of age, most children can understand the concept of “time-out.”

      • Rosa

        My 5 year old still does this and I understand your frustration, I am living it. I think the fits are more tramatic for the child then the time out so I agree with you and I am willing to try your method. It makes sense to me. It’s not healthy for our children. We need to relax them. When she calms down we talk about why she was in time out and why she had to be there. Thank you for your idea

  • Kathy Cooper

    Very good idea….

  • mommabear

    I let my daughter make a bottle like this when she was 4. She was having trouble sleeping at night. We called it her dream bottle. She would shake it, watch it for a minute and think of something happy and then throw it under the bed. She started sleeping all night again

  • Angelica

    add about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar. Works like a charm.

  • http://www.friendlyphotozone.com/ GoremanX

    This works fantastic for my 3yo daughter when she needs a timeout. Really soothes her as she watches the glitter fall to the bottom. We otherwise leave the bottles available for her to play with at all times, so they’re not a “punishment-time” item that she dreads. We have them timed to 5 minutes pretty accurately. We made a green one and an orange one.