Orion and the Dark Calm Down Jars

At some point or other, all toddlers seem to battle a fear of the dark or monsters. Around the time that my oldest turned 2 1/2, he was waking up from nightmares which can be heartbreaking as a parent. So I did a small round-up of some books to help Oliver conquer his fears. (We also have a new found obsession with flashlights)


Some of the books we enjoyed were the classic Where the Wild Things Are, Leondardo the Terrible Monster and Flashlight. By far, our favorite book that we found was Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett. This book is about a boy who is afraid of the dark but ends up befriending The Dark and going on an adventure with him.


It also worked out that we had a Busy Bag Swap with a friend recently, so I decided to make these calm down jars to trade. I’m not going to lie, these turned out to be more of a pain than I had anticipated, but the end result was a hit! I also tried a few attempts at doing a glow-in-the-dark bottle, first by painting glow in the dark stars on it but the paint didn’t show up very well. I ended up putting in some glow-in-the-dark mini stars for a glow affect instead.


My two attempts. The first one included glow-in-the-dark paint and the second I traded out the paint for more glitter glue and glow-in-the-dark stars

I followed a couple different tutorials, but this one by Rhythms of Play turned out to work the best for us and this other tutorial by Preschool Inspirations had some good tips as well. You can pre-measure how much water you will need by first measuring the bottles, but leave a little space for adding your sequins and ingredients. Heat the water and then mix everything together in a bowl with a whisk. Here’s what we used to make the bottles:

  1. Voss Water Bottles (these are expensive, but the consensus was that these work the best since it has a wider opening at the top)
  2. 1 tablespoon blue glitter glue
  3. 1 tablespoon black glitter glue
  4. 1 tablespoon blue dawn dish soap
  5. 2 tablespoons glitter
  6. star sequins
  7. glow-in-the-dark stars
  8. 4-5 drops of blue food coloring
  9. Tacky Glue for gluing on the lid at the end


Here are my tips after many trials and errors with making these. First, you will need hot water to make sure everything mixes together. However, don’t put the hot water in the water bottle right away, or your bottle will melt (whoops!) Some tutorials ended up using glue or oil to help make everything “slow down” but I just stuck with glitter glue and dish soap since some food dyes won’t mix with oil. It really just depends on what kind of effect you are going for and the beauty of these jars is that you have lots of options, just do a little research beforehand. My last tip is to try making these outside if possible because these.are.messy.

The timing also couldn’t have been better for us, because to go along with our flashlight obsession, if you’ve been to Chick-fil-A recently, you may have noticed these awesome Shine-a-Light books with your children’s meal. Once again I was OCD Mom at collecting all the goods!


Have you ever tried to make a calm down jar before? How did it work out for you?


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