LEGO Calm Down Jar

Do you have a child who can get quite upset, needs quiet time, or enjoys being alone? If you are a regular here, you know just how explosive my oldest, Legoman, can be. Due to his troubles with sensory processing disorder and anxiety, he can get really worked up and overstimulated easily. This Lego Calm Down Jar has been a lifesaver many times over the past few months and has become a family favorite for quiet time.

Lego Calm Down Jar

{This post may contain affiliate links to materials I recommend. Anything you purchase through these links helps support Lemon Lime Adventures. Thank you in advance for choosing to support us.}

Calm Down Jars are nothing new. In fact, I have seen some pretty amazing ones over the years as an early childhood educator. You can find them on Pinterest, Facebook, and linked in almost any sensory processing support group.

Never seen one before?

Calm down jars can be any jar filled with a simple mixture of glue, glitter and warm water. If you are like us, you add in one of your favorite toys, too… LEGO! Any time your child (or you) need a break, give the jar a GREAT BIG shake (I promise the shaking is part of the “therapy”) and then watch and wait for the glitter to settle. The wait can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes.

In our case, our added minifigure continues to agitate the mixture, so it takes a little longer to settle. Plus its really fun to try to get your Legoman to rise up the side in different positions.

Calm Down Jar with lego

Why Should You Have a Calm Down Jar?

A calm down jar has multiple purposes. Since they can be found all over the internet, I thought it would fun to visit a few reasons you might want a calm down jar for your home.

They are pretty and inviting. In our home, we do not just use our calm down jar when someone is upset. In fact, because we made our with one of our favorite toys, they sit on our bookshelf in the main room and we revisit them often. When they are not in use, they become a piece of art, a conversation piece. It is rare that someone visits our home without asking about them. It never fails, they then spend at least 10 minutes shaking, turning, and watching our minifigure dance in the solution.

They are calming. Okay, that was a given, I know. But really, Whether you are 2 or 92, a calm down jar brings you piece of mind. Its like being entranced under a magicians spell that can’t be broken. With the addition of our minifigure, the addiction just gets stronger. As many of you know, our family is taking a challenge for a more peaceful home. The calm down jar has been an invaluable tool. I challenge anyone to still want to yell after waiting for all the glitter to settle. (We put extra glitter glue, so you might have to wait a bit).

They provide proprioceptive, visual and tactile input. Woah, Woah, Woah. What does all that mean, right? Shaking, squeezing, turning, and watching the jars as the glitter settle allows your body to recieve sensory input needed to organize thoughts, focus your attention, and “rewire” your nervous system. Legoman’s favorite thing to do is hang upside down in a chair and watch his minifigure; therefore, receiving vestibular input as well.

They take the focus off of the punishment. Often times, when our children are angry, upset or throwing a temper tantrum it is because they are so upset they are unable to communicate their needs to us. Think about it, as adults we do the same thing, some of us have learned to manage our emotions over time. Some of us still blow up and yell. By giving our children time to calm down before communicating we are giving them a fair chance to solve problems and explain their thoughts to us. Honestly, sometimes it gives us time to calm down before communicating with our children.

How to Make Your Calm Down Jar with Lego

DIY Calm Down Jar

What You Need:

We started by adding in about half a bottle of Elmer’s Glitter Glue. Each boy picked their favorite colors.

Then we added in warm water, enough to almost fill the jar. (Save room for shaking and movement in the bottle)

Add in a tad bit of food coloring and extra glitter (otherwise you will see the particles of glue separate and it won’t look as uniform.)

Finally, add in one Lego minifigure. Put on the lid and tightly secure it.

Note: If you have a younger child or one that will open, I suggest hot gluing the lid closed.

NOW SHAKE! SHAKE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW. In fact, when we were making our jars for the first time, we turned on some music and had a dance party! You’re ready to go!

Calm down jar Legos

We’ve made these a few times since the first time we made them. Here is our latest version in video form.

Want more Calm Down Jars and Calming Activities?

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Do you ever have a need to calm down or help a child calm down? Have you ever made a calm down jar or something else? I would love to hear about it. If you have made something, I would love for you to hop over to Facebook and tell me about it!

Connect with  me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Now, for the exciting announcement. Well, I am so excited to announce that my new book, The Unofficial Guide to Learning with LEGO® – 100+ Inspiring Ideas, is almost ready! In fact, it went off to the printer just yesterday! This is a book I have co-authored with several of my other friends who love and adore Lego Learning Ideas. The book is full of inspiring Lego learning ideas that are perfect for any age child! We have even started a new Facebook group devoted to learning with Lego and we would love to have you join us!


The Unofficial Guide to Learning with LEGO® - 100+ Inspiring IdeasIf you want to be the first to know when the book is available and you want some of the fun bonus offers just for you, be sure to fill out this survey form and be on the lookout for a Bonus printable very soon!

Do you have a favorite LEGO activity? What are your favorite simple summer fun ideas? I would love to hear! Connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

139 thoughts on “LEGO Calm Down Jar”

  1. oh dear. This is soo cool. Adding legos would calm a child even more I think. Thank you.

  2. I love this! Adding Lego to it is such a simple thing, but genius!

  3. I just love this jar and I think the added element of a lego man is genius! We made a calm down jar with a peanut butter jar. I recently threw it away because I was always worried it would get opened or dropped on someone’s foot. I like how your jars are a little smaller and easier to handle. I’m now thinking a smaller jar would be perfect for traveling. We could have really used one this weekend after a tantrum in the car…

    1. Jess

      You can hot glue the cover shut so that it can’t be opened!

  4. trudi

    Hi, I’m from South Africa and we don’t get Elmers Glue or Glitter glue her. That is one huge bottle. I would love to make some of these. Is there a substitute or different way of making these? Thanks

    1. Kristin

      Get clear tacky glue, and glitter. Use hot hot water to melt it.

      1. Angela

        you can also use water, glitter and karo syrup (white corn syrup), or baby oil and water and glitter… just play around with the quantities. check out sensory bottles on google. Youcan add wiggly eyes, marbles, or other plastic toys instead of the the lego.

    2. I purchased glycerin at the pharmacy for making snow-globe type calming jars, using a rounded apple juice single serve plastic bottle. If you use glue, make sure the water is warm enough to dissolve/dilute the glue. I used silver glitter and a hint of blue food coloring with some miniature plastic tree ornament characters. Basically, the recipe is something to color the water, something that floats and settles, something to keep the floating and settling from clogging up, and an interesting object to beat around on the inside of the container.

  5. Maureen

    My son (4.5 years old) LOVES the little Lego guys and has a tendency to get frustrated, overly physical, etc. and I love this idea. I’ll have to try it.

      1. Saurabh

        umm, i just came across this n this is brilliant , i need to ask though, can i use glitter and glue independently, just a minor query?

        1. Yes, just make sure the water is warm enough to dilute/dissolve the glue.

  6. Susan

    We used a clear tacky glue, fine glitter (not glitter glue) and no food coloring. There were no clumps of glue to be seen. We also added enough glue to stop the glitter from settling for a good five minutes to use as a time out timer. It worked like a charm until one particularly bad day when he broke a small hole in the bottle haha! But, it was time to make a new one anyway, with added time since he has gotten older since the first one.

  7. gabbi

    Love to try this. How easy is it to retrieve the lego? Is it easy to wash it off to play with it? Thank you!

    1. You know I don’t know. Since I made this with my boys and we have plenty of figures… they have not worried too much about their man. They love him in there!

  8. This is a great idea! I have a little guy who gets himself worked up and has trouble calming down. I’ll have to try this. Stopping by from the SITSgirls FB group 🙂

  9. I’m soooo going to do this! My son has autism and I can see him loving this! Thanks for sharing this on the SITS page! I’m definitely pinning this! 🙂

  10. Echo

    what a simple idea and a good one. reminds me so much of a snow globe. i know as a child i could play with and watch a snow globe for the longest time. as a matter of fact i would be so into watching and waiting for the globe to clear that my mother would get suspicious about the fact that i was “too” quiet. LOL
    i know of a couple young mothers that i will be suggesting this too.


  11. Becky B

    Love this! Can’t wait to try it! {stopping by from sits}

  12. I am watching my grandkids next weekend, for the whole weekend. There are three of them and only one of me. I am making these before they come for those moments I need quiet and sanity. Thank you so much for the idea. It will be perfect.

  13. Love this idea! Thinking of getting the supplies today. Our son loves Legos, so any way to incorporate them into his sensory diet is perfect! Thanks!

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  15. Tinkeyes

    My son was 8 when I first made a couple Calm Down Jars. He threw them at his brother and me. Didn’t quite work the way I hoped it would. I love to use them for ME!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Oh man, that doesn’t sound good. Did you make them and practice using them in a non-elevated moment? That seems to help in our house. We use ours a lot for anxiousness with anticipating events (for meltdowns we use pillows and a squeezebox).

  16. Maria

    Glitter is basically tiny flakes of plastic. It is a major pollutant of the oceans and causes marine life to suffer and die. Because of its small size, it is impossible to filter out of the water. Please don’t create these disposable items that pollute unnecessarily.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      I am sorry you feel this way. I did get a picture from a reader just the other day of her calm down jars she has had for over 10 years. 🙂

    2. Oh whatever! Not like anyone is going to dump this in the ocean. Not evenly one is stupid to try and to pollute the ocean with GLITTER!

      1. I think what she means is people or pour them down the sink And the glitter cannot be filtered out! Not that people pour them in the oceans. But the effect is the same

    3. Rue Penn

      Something the size of glitter better be abled to be filtered or we are all in trouble for the smallest particle that goes through our water system can’t be filtered either. I don’t believe it.

  17. These look awesome. I’m definitely trying this with my 6yo.
    Oh -hey Dayna – Your pinterest icon on the top right of your page isn’t working. Check your link.
    : )

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you so much! I had no clue! You rock!

      1. Oli

        Interesting article. Thanks.
        P.S. A small edit in your article, “NOW SHAKE! SHAKE LIKE *THEIR* IS NO TOMORROW.”
        Change to THERE.

        1. Lemon Lime Adventures

          Thanks for pointing out this mistake. I finally fixed it!

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  19. Kristin Gideon

    I have had a calm-down jar on my list of things to make for awhile now, but this is such an awesome variation! I just made my first one though, and I’m wondering…is the Lego figure supposed to just float at the top? As soon as I stop shaking, he flies right up there and stays. I didn’t know if this was normal or if my consistency is off. Mine is also taking WAY too long to settle, like I’m not sure if it’s ever going to settle all the way. I think I added too much glitter glue, so I’m not sure if I can fix that…

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  23. Sylvia

    I tried this and it did not work. The glitter is just staying still in the bottle when I shake it it doesn’t move or slowly settle, it does nothing. This seemed like a simple thing. Not for me apparently and I’m pretty creative and good at this stuff lol

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Did you use HOT water? That was key for us.

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  25. Going to try this with my grand son who has sensory disorder and autism . Thank you so much!!!!!!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Wonderful! I’d love to see pics!

  26. Tori

    I bet this would work great with some of our dementia residents! How long is the jar good for once you make it?

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  28. robyn

    Great idea but when in a temper my 6 year old would throw this at me!

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  30. Allison

    Just attempted my first jar. I used warm water on the first one like the directions said but the glitter glue is staying in very large clumps and will not break up. I tried hotter water on the second and the clumps are smaller though still there. Can’t seem to break them up. What am I doing wrong??

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      The warmer the water the better. Hmm. Try shaking really hard. Check it in the morning and shake some more. See if that helps 🙂

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  33. Thank you for the great post! We are going to make a couple of these. We just have to find the right jar…

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      So glad you like them. Come share pictures on Facebook when you do!

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  35. Love this. Hope you don’t mind that I linked to it in my blog.

    The boys would’ve freaked if they had to sacrifice one of their lego dudes so we used other small mini figures instead. I think we put too much glitter glue so next time we make them I will use a bit less. We did use those Voss water bottles as you suggested & they were PERFECT.

    Thank you for the great instructions!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Wonderful! Yours turned out perfectly!

  36. sammie

    I have the Voss plastic bottle (16.9 oz) approx how much glitter glue should I use? The bottle of helmets glitter glue is 6oz. Looking forward to making this for my grandson.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      We used a bottle of Elmers Glitter Glue (5oz).

  37. Lori Kunz

    My son was diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder, he is 3. We made several of these with the Voss water bottles. He loves them! Hus therapists came to the house, saw them and loved them. I will be donating all the materials to his therapists to make these jars at his preschool. Thanks for the fabulous idea.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Oh how wonderful! I love hearing that!

  38. I think I need one of these for myself… so then I can go sit closer to them and be calm 🙂 Thank you for posting these great articles!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you! We love our jars around here!

  39. Grace A.


    Just wanted to say this is an awesome idea and I wish I had something like this when I was little. I was diagnosed with PDD and SSPD at age 4. I’m so happy there are moms like you out there. You remind me of my mom, who I always thought was Superwoman, making all the bad things go away. I’m now a senior in college, freaking out about getting a real job. I’ve gone on road trips, been overseas, and went through a tornado. Right now I’m trying to avoid my organic chemistry homework. -_-;

    Your kids will be fine. Keep up the great work everyone

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thanks for sharing your story with us! Good luck with your open chain hydro carbons!

  40. candice

    Not sure what I did wrong. But my jar was very watery and I couldn’t see the mini figures at all and they settled to the bottom immediately! Do I use the whole bottle of glue…instructions say half.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Warm water is the key here. But if your formula isn’t working out perfectly — you can always try adding more glue.

  41. Jodi

    Could you post the rough dimensions of your jar and proportions of other “ingredients?” I want to make these for my nephews for Christmas. From my guess, your jar’s about 16 oz, which is usually not far from a foot tall and 3 inches in diameter (give or take). Then I guess half standard Elmer’s bottle of glue, but how much extra glitter?

  42. Christina

    We tried making one for my son tonight…let’s just say it was good “practice” lol.

    I used one of the large Voss bottles (27 oz I think). Used almost the whole bottle of Elmer’s Glitter glue. Unfortunately, the glue just stays together in one large clump or a few smaller clumps and you can’t see any of the little buttons I put in it. I thought maybe the buttons were too light weight, so I added a few marbles, but still the glue stays clumped. Any suggestions as to where I went wrong ?? My husband says I should post it on the Pinterest fails blog lol.

  43. Michelle

    Just wondering if a snow dome would do the same thing?

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      We have made a Lego Snow Globe with different ingredients. It was still calming, just a different affect.

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  51. Rachel B

    I absolutely love this!! Is it a once only thing or do they still work when the water is cold??

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Yes! We’ve had ours a full year!

  52. Mummy to M C S

    I’m so glad I came across this site! I have a 5 year old (middle child) who has been acting out lately and a 3 year old with a nasty temper. I am at my wits end with trying to figure out ways to get them to calm down and listen. It’s so bad that the cashiers in the grocery store told me that I looked more relaxed when I don’t have them with me.
    I love my kids with all my heart…I just want to be a happier mom so they don’t remember me as the one who always yells.

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  59. Nell alcott

    I made two using bottles from Bolthouse juice and i couldn’t find the mini Lego’s but my grandson loves Thomas the Train and they came out with mini-trains. Just had to find two that didn’t have the smoke stack on top so they’d fit through the opening of the bottle! Turned out great! I made two, one for each grandson and will go in their Easter basket!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      How Awesome!

      1. Sherri L.

        We made something similar but used birdseed instead of glue, glitter, and water in old 16 oz. Gatorade bottles. We added about 25 different small objects (toys, a plastic flag, a penny, paper clip, etc.) to the and the birdseed then hot-glued the lids on. This makes a great game for in the car or waiting in the Dr. office. You call out an object and they shake the jar until they can see it. A variation of the game is to make Bingo cards with pictures of the objects in the jar and one child or parent shakes the jar and then calls out what they see and the others get to mark off the found items to see who gets bingo first. We made several cards and covered them with clear contact paper so we can use dry erase makers and reuse the cards.

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  63. We like to use calm down jars with our yoga practice, but I never thought of putting legos in there!

  64. Jules

    I have found that baby bottles ( old or new as long as they have the storage cap) work the best for little ones that drop / throw things

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  66. Katiehut

    My Lego man won’t sink! He just floats at the top the whole time. Did your sink?!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      No he doesn’t sink. I just have to turn him over again and again. The kids like that.

  67. Kristina

    Hi! I just made these. I’m wondering hire much extra glitter you used. I don’t feel like my glitter is thick enough. It doesn’t look like your pictures executive right after we shake them.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Did you use glitter and Glitter Glue? We used barely any glitter and mostly glitter glue.

  68. We made two of these glitter bottles, one in green and one blue. I didn’t think to add a lego character to it though, good idea. We let the kids choose which color they want when they need to go “cool down”.

  69. Sarah Ellis

    My Lego man won’t sink! Did yours?? I wanted it to reveal towards the bottom of the jar as the glitter settles 🙁 Advise please!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      It does not stay sunk. In fact, I talk about how it floats back up and then they would turn it over again and watch him rise and fall. Sorry.

      1. My father-in-law has all these fishing weights on his work bench, so I snitched a few and super glued them in the little dinosaurs I used (I sliced open their little bellies, gross, I know). It gave them just enough weight to make you guess where they would float off to or up or down.

        1. Lemon Lime Adventures

          That is brilliant!

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  86. Thanks for posting this cool idea. I love this idea. Indeed it is a great way to divert the kids temper in a better way. I will definitely consider your tips for my kids. This is such a neat tool. Looking forward to trying your other suggestions. Thanks!!!Thanks for great instructions.

  87. Thanks for posting this great idea. I love this initiative. Indeed it is a great way to deflect the kids temper in a better way. I will definitely consider your tips for my kids. This is such a neat tool. Looking forward to trying your other suggestions. Thanks!!!Thanks for great instructions.

  88. Alanna

    What a great idea! We try to use this as a “time out” jar, where when it’s done settling they are free from time out, but this doesn’t work with my youngest daughter because the older kids like to shake the jar when it’s near settling, causing larger drama.

  89. I am so glad you shared this and so happy I found it. My son and I have just been talking about making one of these. He is a very good boy but we have been having a little trouble controlling our frustration lately. I really don’t want to give harsh punishments when I know he is really trying. I do need a way to keep him focused on controlling his emotions and how to deal with them properly. And this is just perfect! plus he loves Legos. I will be getting the stuff ASAP!

  90. This is amazing idea. Fun and interesting, I will try it with my kids.

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  93. Melissa Mensing

    Thank you! I will be making some for my adult children and their children.
    I have a son who also was diagnosed with senory integration disorder when he was 7 yrs old. How I wish I know about these bottles back then.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  98. Crystal

    Im a 42 year old with autism spectrum disorder and I love your calming jars I cant wait to make one ! Im going to look online and see if I can find a glow in the dark toy instead of the lego toy preferably a little fairy or dragon as I love fantacy and think glow in the dark will make the calming jar fun at night. Thank you for your sight it helps autism as well as sensory intergration disorder. I am working on building a sensory room for myself the ones people suggest for autism tend to be very expensive to put together and is not the best in my opinion sensory intergration “toys” along with some slow moving lights like lava lamp or fiber optic christmas lights, some fabric of verying tectures, incense sticks, a rocking chair or swing and/or a over sized bean bag chair and you have a perfect sensory room. So thank you thank you thank you for helping be build my sensory room with tour wonderful ideas. You are helping more people than you realize.

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