Calm Bottle (aka Glitter Jar, aka Mind Jar)


  • Container: This is typically made with a glass mason jar, but since I often make these with children I use water bottles with smooth sides.
  • One bottle of clear glue (not white glue that dries clear), or glitter glue: I like using regular glue so I don’t have to deal with the hot water since I make these in my office. Glue/glitter glue works best, but you could also use corn syrup if that’s all you have (You have to pour it directly in the water without letting it touch the sides of the bottle or the glitter will stick to it).
  • Water: It can be room temperature if you use regular glue but should be hot if glitter glue is used. If the water is not hot enough then the glitter will become clumpy and separate.
  • Glitter: I use mostly super fine glitter with a little regular sized. I sometimes add sequins, beads, shells, plastic jewels, etc. Glow in the dark glitter looks really cool if you can find it. Less (or even none) is needed if glitter glue was used.
  • Food coloring: This is optional. Only use one drop or it becomes difficult to see the glitter.
  • Strong glue or duct tape: This is used to fasten the lid to the container. I like using colored duct tape.


  • Making a Calm Bottle (clear glue): Fill the bottle 3/4 of the way full with water. Then add the glue (and shake) and glitter (and shake). I use a funnel for the glitter. The more glue you use, the longer it will take the glitter to settle. I usually use the whole bottle. Add 1 drop of food coloring, if desired, and then glue/tape the lid on.
  • Making a Calm Bottle (glitter glue): Instead of clear glue you can use glitter glue. If you go this rout then mix the glitter glue in a bowl with very hot water (I boil the water) before adding it to the bottle. If the water is not hot enough then the glue will clump up and not work. You can add 1 drop of food color and additional glitter is desired.
  • Using a Calm Bottle: This is a sensory activity that I primarily use with clients who have temper tantrums. If child becomes emotionally dysregulated at an inappropriate time they shake the bottle vigorously and then set it down and watch the glitter fall while taking deep breaths (how to teach deep breathing to children can be found here) and sitting with their anger (Ahn’s Anger is a good book for teaching this).  This is also useful as a timer that can be applied to a variety of issues (ex. homework breaks).
  • Important Note: I have noticed many people using these for anxiety and panic attacks (without the guidance of a therapist) and I wanted to emphasize that while this could be useful in certain specific situations, it should not be used to avoid dealing with underlying issues.  This exercise will do nothing to get to the root cause or prevent it from happening in the future (and has the potential to make things worse).  Fear must be confronted, rather than avoided, for lasting change to take place.  

a little post of cool stimmy things and where to find them

  • thimbles (anywhere that sells sewing or craft supplies)
  • tangle toys
  • space bracelets ( 1, 2, 3, 4 )
  • how to make rainbow suds
  • how to make/ where to buy glitter jars
  • play dough/ plasticine (any where that sells toys)
  • chew bracelets/ necklaces
  • put some craft glue ( can be found anywhere that sells craft supplies ) on your skin and pick it off throughout the day
  • if you go to a place that sells fabrics, find a fabric you like and ask for a sample, you should be able to get a little bit of that fabric free of charge instead of buying a big chunk of fabric that you don’t need (please don’t abuse this though)
  • a calming playlist

DIY Sensory Substances (My social skills groups for young Autistic children love these activities)

  1. Slime (Glue/liquid starch)
  2. Glow in the Dark Slime (Borax/glue/glow paint)
  3. Cloud Dough (Flour/oil)
  4. Silly Putty (Clear glue/liquid starch)
  5. Moon Sand (Sand/corn starch)
  6. Goop (Cornstarch/water)
  7. Flubber (White glue/borax)
  8. GAK (Clear glue/borax)
  9. Floam (Borax/Glue/styrofoam)

Click here for more DIY sensory substances

Device enables friends to send smells around the world

Smells are an important part of our sensory makeup and can arouse visceral reactionswhen those aromas are linked to positive memories or feelings. The developers of the Ophone believe that this sense is being neglected by today’s technology, and have created a way for friends to ‘text’ smells to each other, regardless of where they are in the world. READ MORE…


Calming Wave Machine (Sensory Bottle)

- Supplies:

  • Clear plastic bottle
  • Water
  • Blue food coloring
  • Cooking oil (ex. vegetable, sun seed, canola, etc.)
  • Small seashells/stones, glitter, plastic fish/shells, sea themed beads, coarse sand, etc.
  • Super glue or duct tape
  • Alka seltzer (optional)

- Directions

  • Fill 1/3 of the bottle with water, and the rest with oil.
  • Add 1 drop of blue food coloring and the small sea items
  • Since the oil and water do not mix, the oil creates slow waves in the water when you turn it back and forth. 
  • By adding Alka Seltzer tablets, you can create a cool lava lamp effect (click here)
  • The cap can be secured with superglue or duct tape

Other ideas for “calm bottles” can be found here, here and here.  Goes well with deep breathing exercises (here).

Watch on www.superlinguo.com

Hey sports fans - seen this video doing the rounds of the interpipes?

Deafblind soccer fan Carlos and his friend Hélio have developed a system to help Carlos experience the World Cup, shown here with interpreter Regiane.

This is the first time I’d seen this type of communication in action, so I dug around to find out more about it. In his video description, Hélio references haptic communication as the method being used. This type of communication is also known as tactile signing.

On this Australian Deafblind Information site, haptic communication is described like this:

Social Haptic Communication is broadly defined as the interaction of two or more people in a social context where messages are conveyed using the sense of touch. These messages (or haptices) may contain, but are not limited to information about emotion, facial expression, to map out the environment or a room layout and describing other visual or auditory information such as art or music. 

As another reference point, the Danish Association of the Deafblind has produced an English translation of their handbook 103 Haptic Signals - A Reference Book (PDF).

There are a range of ways that a deafblind person might communicate, adapted depending on factors like whether the individual is congenitally deafblind or they have acquired dual sensory loss, and the extent to which the person’s vision and/or hearing is affected:

  • Speech
  • Lip reading
  • Sign Language, e.g. Auslan
  • Signed English
  • Key Word Sign (formerly known as Makaton)
  • Tactile Signing
  • Tracking
  • Signs used on the body
  • Co-active signing
  • Visual frame signing
  • Deafblind manual alphabet
  • Printing on palm
  • Tadoma
  • Social Haptics
  • Gestures
  • Body language
  • Facial expressions
  • Behaviour/Routines
  • Pictures/photos
  • Object symbols
  • Written (large print writing or typed information)
  • Braille
  • Use of communication devices

Thanks to Hélio and Carlos for posting the video and showing us this great example of haptic communication in action. 

- Georgia


The Blur Building by Diller Scofidio + Renfro is intended to be the antithesis to sensory overload.

About the project:

The Blur Building is an architecture of atmosphere - a fog mass resulting from natural and manmade forces. Water is pumped from Lake Neuchatel, filtered, and shot as a fine mist through 35,000 high-pressure nozzles. A smart weather system reads the shifting climatic conditions of temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction and regulates water pressure at a variety of zones. Upon entering Blur, visual and acoustic refereences are erased. There is only an optical “white-out” and the white-noise” of pulsing nozzles. Contrary to immersive environments that strive for visual fidelity in high-definition with ever-greater technical virtuosity, Blur is decidedly low-definition. In this exposition pavilion there is nothing to see but our dependance on vision itself. [It] is an experiment in de-emphasis on an environmental scale. Movement within is unregulated. The public can ascend to the Angel Deck via a stair that emerges through the fog into the blue sky. Water is not only the site and primary material of the building; it is also a culinary pleasure. The public can drink the building. Within, is an immersive acoustic environment by Christian Marclay


DIY Play Dough/Clay: More sensory substances.

  1. Play Dough (Flour/koolaid)
  2. Glow Dough (Four/florescent kids paint)
  3. Foam Dough (Shaving cream/corn starch)
  4. Silky Soft Play Dough (Hair Conditioner/corn starch)
  5. Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough (Peanut Butter/powdered milk)
  6. Cake Mix Dough (Cake mix) or Cake Play Dough (cake mix/butter)
  7. Modeling Clay (Baking soda/corn starch)
  8. Baking Clay (Flour/salt)
  9. Glitter Play Dough (Flour/glitter)

Click here to view more DIY sensory substances including, slime, gak, cloud dough and moon sand.


Your body is like parchment,
and I, it’s cartographer.

My hands mapping the subtleties,
stretching over the plains that compose your stomach
and dipping into the valleys that are your hips;
caressing the mountains of your breasts as they
fall away into the curvature of
your shoulders.

Having grazed up along the rivers of your legs,
of how your feet lead me to your calves and then
so wonderful are the muscles I feel in your thighs
and the soft of your flesh
under my callous palms.

Slipping into the forked paths of how the
juncture of your collarbone meets the column of
your delicate throat.

Watching it break into the careful lines that 
carve your jawbone from your ears to your chin
just so precarious
beneath the lush of your lips.

And in your eyes I see oceans and
I crave to lose myself in their depths.

Oh, how the map of you that
I create within my mind
is all I
could ever

( r.x )