An Art Project That Stops Meltdowns

Galaxy jars are a super-easy, super-rad activity for kids of all ages. Plus, they double as “calming jars” when a child is on the verge of losing it. 📷 @miriandfriends

On a scale of 1-10 (11 being off the charts), our craft level hovers around a 2. It has to be fail-proof, hold kids’ attention for more than 5 minutes, and not make a giant mess for us to get on board.

Galaxy Jars are all of that. And more.

They double as “calm down” jars, which are traditionally used as visual anchors when kids with autism or sensory-processing difficulties are experiencing an emotional stressor. We find they brilliantly distract our kids on the brink of a meltdown – the act of shaking it and watching it settle has a magical ability to chill them out.

What You Need:

32oz Jars (because if you’re going to make a “galaxy”, let’s make a galaxy!)
Glitter Tempera Paint (glitter paint means you don’t have to buy and let them loose with actual glitter) Cotton Balls
Star Confetti (not essential but a great added effect and easier to manage than glitter)
Butter Knife


  1. Decide how many colors you want to use (3-6).
  2. Get out that number of plastic cups. If you opt for 3 colors, pour 10oz of water in each one; 4 colors, pour 8oz; 5 colors, pour 6oz; 6 colors, pour 5oz.
  3. Pour a few drops of paint into each cup of water (so each cup is a different color) and mix until you reach desired hue.
  4. Pour one cup of colored water into glass jar.
  5. Take handful of cotton balls and stretch each one out.
  6. Put stretched cotton balls into the jar and push them down with the butter knife until they are submerged. (Note: There should not be a lot of extra liquid left on top of cotton. If there is, add more stretched cotton balls.)
  7. Sprinkle in some star confetti.
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 for the remaining colors.
  9. Once finished, put the lid on very tight.
  10. Shake away, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

📷 @miriandfriends