These DIY Calm-Down Jars Will Have Your Students Mesmerized

It’s like a real-life science experiment with every shake.

Tips to make a calm down jar

How does it do that? This is what many people think when they first see this calm-down jar. With just one shake, the two colors mix, creating a new color. Then little by little, the colors separate, and the liquids return to their original state.

So not only is this a really awesome way for students relax, but it’s also a great learning opportunity. Why don’t oil and water mix? What are primary and secondary colors? These questions can be answered through this hands-on experiment. Then when you’re finished, use these calm-down jars in your classroom as sensory items or for other activities. Check out the video on how they all came together.

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What You Need

1. Create your mixtures.

Calm down jar and mixing

Fill your jar halfway with water. Then take your water-based fool coloring and add a few drops. You really don’t need much. Put the lid on the jar and shake thoroughly. Now make your oil-based mixture. Note the amount of water you used in the first step. You’ll want to pour the same amount of baby oil into your measuring container. Then, using a toothpick, stir in a little bit of oil-based food coloring. Mix well, until the oil has a nice even color.

2. Combine the water with the oil mixture.

Calm down jar together

Add your oil mixture to the jar of water. You’ll see the colors combining as you pour, but they’ll eventually separate.

3. Shake and observe.

Calm down jar shaking

This is the fun part! Give your jars a shake, and you’ll see the two colors mix together, creating a new color. After a few minutes, they’ll separate again.


We encourage you to use this lesson to teach students about mixing colors or to talk to them about why water and oil don’t mix. These jars also make great sensory items for your classroom. Or you can use them as a timer. Make them work for you!

What DIY projects have you worked on in your classroom? Come share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, check out how to make this reading chair using an inner tube. 

Teach your students about mixing colors with DIY calm-down jars. When you shake the jar, the two colors mix. Then they slowly separate again.