Sometimes kids like to look at things that help calm them down, especially kids with Autism, and that is why sensory jars are so awesome. I made this one out of a glass jar for Elizabeth. For children on the spectrum, especially if they are prone to meltdowns, I recommend plastic. I would not have made these for Matt and Sam at all. They threw and broke everything they could and giggled about it while they did it.
We started out with a regular glass jar with a lid. It could be any jar you want to use, it just needs a snug fitting lid. Then, we filled that 1/3 of the way with Kayro syrup. This makes the water thicker so the objects will float back up or remain suspended for a minute.
Next, we needed something to put in the water. We used assorted confetti stars. They are foil stars of assorted colors and sizes that you can get from Walmart. You could use any kind of glitter or foil confetti, it really makes no difference other than the appearance.
To get the Starry Night color of an almost deep purple, we added two drops of blue food coloring and one of red. You can do any color combination to match your foil.
Say your kid is a fan of Dallas Cowboys. Then you can make it blue. Maybe they like Red Socks and you want to go with red. If they like tractors, you can do green. The possibilities are as endless as the interests of each individual on the spectrum. If I could have made these for Matt and Sam when they were younger, I would have gone with cars and a light color like yellow so they could easily see through it.
When we finished putting the confetti in the jar, we tried to hot glue the lid on the mixture. This did not work out. I had to re-open it and remove the glue because it leaked. Without the glue, it works fine.
This is a very simple project. I know a lot of parents with children with autism, or without, can benefit from having calming bottles and other sensory toys, so we will probably be doing a lot of these projects in the future.
Some examples of stimming behavior my boys exhibited when they were younger were:
lining up Hot Wheels across the room or in elaborate patterns for hours
turning bikes upside down and spinning the wheels with no interest in riding the bikes
repeating simple words and phrases
Keep in mind, stimming is an important behavior for people with Autism. It helps them deal with their environment and it really is not harming anyone around them. It is a coping mechanism. They never do it for attention, and often may not be aware they are doing it at all.