These Calm-Down Jars Will Blow Your Students’ Minds

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

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? Both 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 in how they all came together. 

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What You Need 

Calm Down Jars Supplies - WeAreTeachers

1. Create your water mixture.

Calm Down Jars Food Coloring - WeAreTeachers

Fill your jar half full 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. 

2. Create your oil-based mixture. 

Calm Down Jars Oil - WeAreTeachers

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. 

3. Pour your oil mixture in with the water. 

Calm Down Jars Mixing - WeAreTeachers

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

4. Shake and observe. 

Calm Down Jars Shake - WeAreTeachers

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. Students can use them on their own as a calm-down jar. You can also use them as a timer of sorts for group and other activities. Make them work for you!

Do you have other calm-down jar or sensory ideas? Submit your photo on our WeAreTeachers Chat group on Facebook. 

Plus, learn how to make your own classroom stress balls. 

Posted by Stacy Tornio

Stacy Tornio is a senior editor with WeAreTeachers. Nearly everyone in her family is a teacher. So she decided to be rebellious and write about teachers instead.

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