5 Easy Calming Bottles You Can Make This Weekend

Calming bottles are one of my favorite things to make with students, but mine never turn out quite right. I either add too much food coloring or not enough... too much glue or not enough... too much glitter, okay you get the point! It's been a real Goldilocks situation over here! I think I finally found some winning combinations so I wanted to share my "recipes" in hopes that I could save someone else lots of money in wasted craft supplies.

But first, let's talk about the why/how. If you're new to calming bottles (I realize you're probably not since they've been all over Pinterest for years, but just in case...), they are a great tool to keep in a calm-down area or to stock in calming kits. Students can shake the bottles to exert pent up energy/frustration and then watch the glitter/contents fall to refocus and bring down their energy levels. They're fun to make with students to give them ownership of the process and also allow them to choose contents/colors that are meaningful to them in some way.

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What you'll need:
Water bottles (I bought a 24 pack of 500mL Voss water bottles on Amazon. I like these because the shape is perfect and the labels are easy to peel)
At least 5 bottles of clear glue (I bought Elmer's from Amazon)
Water beads (also purchased from Amazon)
Food coloring
Various types of glitter (fine, coarse, shaped)
Baby oil

The Winter Glitter Bottle:
This one is fun to use in the cold months or with students who love a particular icy movie. I really like the look of this bottle but would likely add more glue if I made another one. The snowflake glitter falls pretty quickly, but it is nice to have 2 types of glitter in one bottle.

The Glitter Bottle:
This is my favorite of the bunch! The coarse glitter is slower to fall and is easy for students to focus on while it's settling.

The Water Bead Bottle:
If you haven't played with water beads before, they are a great sensory tool! They start out as teeny tiny balls and grow when soaked in water. I recommend soaking your beads so they grow to full size before putting them in the bottle so that you don't end up with too many! They give off a cool, aura look in the bottle and can be rolled around rather than shaken. Students can roll the bottle and count the purple beads, spot their favorite colors, etc.

The Bead Bottle: 
This is a fun way to use those tiny little beads that are intended for ironing shape projects. They float, so students can watch the beads rise after shaking the bottle. And just for fun, I used glow in the dark beads.

The Ocean Bottle:
This bottle can be tipped on its side and rolled back and forth to create waves. It's not visible in the picture, but I also dropped a tiny starfish in the bottle for students to watch as they make waves.

The Failed Glitter Bottle:
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the bottle that didn't turn out so great. I used glitter glue instead of clear glue for this bottle, and I didn't love how it turned out. The coarse glitter settles slowly like in the pink glitter bottle above, but the glitter that was in the glue is very slow to settle. If I were to use glitter glue again, I'd use much less. I really just prefer the way the bottles turned out using plain clear glue. 

What other items do you like to include in your calming sensory bottles? I've got at least 10 more bottles waiting to be filled!

National Random Acts of Kindness Day

National Random Acts of Kindness Day is just around the corner, and I wanted to share this Kindness BINGO free printable that I have. I love to see students carrying their BINGO cards around in the hallways, diligently checking off boxes as they show kindness throughout the day. I always have a handful of students ask for another card after RAK Day to keep the kindness flowing and THAT is the best! This printable originally only included 4 unique BINGO cards, but I just updated it for include 30 cards per a request from a fellow school counselor who wanted to implement Kindness BINGO school wide next month! You can download it here.

I'd love to see pictures of Kindness BINGO in action at your school! What activities does your school implement for RAK Day?

Valentine's Day School Counseling Resource Roundup

Valentine's Day is around the corner, and this is a great time to remind students how much they are LOVED. I've gathered some of my favorite activities and resources that I've found on Pinterest below - there are so many fun ideas for small groups, classroom guidance, and bulletin boards!

1. Pocket Hearts from Cutting Tiny Bites:  these would be so great for students who need an extra reminder that someone cares about them!

2. Valentine's Day Sensory Bottles from Little Bins for Little Hands: this looks like a fun small group activity! 

3. Valentine's Day Conversation Starters and Writing Prompts from Wendy Baker-Thinking IQ An amazing free resource to get your students talking!

4. Recipe for a Happy Heart: I love this door decor - it would also make a great bulletin board!

5. Catch the Love Monsters self-esteem folder game from Counselor Keri

6. Zen Valentines Day Cards from The Counseling Teacher Brandy Thompson: what a fun, relaxing way to spread some love!

7. Love Lamps from Bath Activities for Kids: this looks mesmerizing!

8. Selfless Love bulletin board 

9. RAK Cards from Counselor Up what a sweet way to spread kindness!

10. Self Esteem Builder Bottle from Clicky Chick Creates: this looks like a great girls group activity or even a classroom guidance activity!

11. Bubble Valentines from The Girl Creative: I love this non-food idea for valentine gifts!

12. All iLove About You Writing Project from EduKate and Inspire This looks like a great activity and self-esteem booster!

13. Valentine Sensory Bottles from Two-DaLoo: another great small group activity!

14. Printable Valentine's Day Cards - these are so cute! Love the mazes on the back!

15. Be My Heathy Valentine from Bilingual Learner - what an important topic for teen dating!

What do you do to celebrate Valentine's Day with your students?

School Counseling Holiday Resource Roundup

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Since I moved from Hawai'i to Oklahoma, I am experiencing my first winter since 2012, and let me tell you, I did not miss this ;-) But there's something special about cooler weather and decorative lights lining the streets that makes me feel so happy. And who am I to turn down a peppermint mocha?

As I'm sure we all know, whether from work life or a fully decorated refrigerator, the fun of the holidays makes for adorable crafts and learning experiences at school. So, I wanted to create a list of some of my favorite Christmas/holiday-themed activities and resources for school counselors to spread a little cheer around my often neglected blog :)

1. ELF Esteem Classroom Guidance Lesson from Counselor Keri

2. Holiday Gift Tags (Free!) from Counselor Up

3. Snowman Sensory Bottle from Little Bins for Little Hands

4. Social Skills Stocking Stuffers (Free!) from SmartmouthSLP

5. Reindeer Games Friendship Activities from Social Emotional Workshop

6. Lighting up the Classroom with Kindness from Peppy Zesty Teacherista

7. Deck the Halls with Happy Thoughts from The Counseling Teacher Brandy Thompson

8. Holiday Faculty Activities from Carol Miller - The Middle School Counselor

9. Self Esteem Compliment Cards (free!) from One Stop Teacher Shop

10. Mindful Melt Mindfulness Exercise from Counselor Keri

11. Ugly Sweater Positive Thinking Game from School Counseling is Magical

12. Gingerbread Friends from Social Emotional Workshop

13. How to be a Friend (free!) from The Counseling Teacher Brandy Thompson

14. Bilingual Winter Holiday Activity from Bilingual Learner

15. Remembering Ornament from What's Your Grief

16. Don't Have a Meltdown from One Stop Counseling Shop

What are your favorite holiday themed activities to use in your school counseling practice?


To see all of my Christmas/holiday resources, check out my TpT Christmas section.

You're Invited: Zen Party!

The holidays seem to bring out the chaos in schools, right? Everyone is excited for a break but also feeling a little out of touch with the main goal (staff and students included!). It always seems that teachers, counselors, and administrators alike have been totally stretched to the limit around this time of year, and I love to bring a little morale boost to the table!

A Zen Party does not have to be an elaborate or time consuming affair - this can all go down in about 20 minutes (longer if you prefer, of course!). Invite faculty members to a calming space to participate in a mindful, refocusing activity of your choice. A media center or faculty lounge decked out with some floor pillows or simple picnic blankets works just fine. I like to lead a guided meditation in which no one is required to do any sort of talking or team-building - just relax and refocus. There are some great scripts from Inner Health Studio - even addressing work related stress or becoming more playful! 

Because I know teachers have lots of things to do and not a lot of time to do them, I like to send them on their way with a party favor of some bubbles (for all those times when they need to do a little deep breathing!), words of encouragement (or....Zencouragement??), and a delightful chocolate or two ;-) Everyone leaves feeling Zen, refreshed, and encouraged!

The benefits of mindfulness can't be ignored, and I think this is a perfect strategy for bringing a little inner peace back to teachers and other faculty members who are giving their all 200% of the time. As the saying goes, you can't pour from an empty cup, right? A faculty Zen Party is just the way to refill those cups a little to encourage everyone to persevere until the holidays!

How do you help faculty members find a little bit of peace amid the holiday chaos?


You can get a free Zen Party invitation template (just add your own details!) below! Simply insert the picture into an 11x8.5 PowerPoint slide or landscape Word document and add your own text! 

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5 Easy Calming Bottles You Can Make This Weekend

Calming bottles are one of my favorite things to make with students, but mine never turn out quite right. I either add too much food col...

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