Grief Support Glitter Bottle Activity
From Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan Grief Counselor Cate Jarvis
“Glitter bottles are not a new idea. They are very popular on Pinterest as a toy or a time-out tool. But I want to share a few ideas for ways to use it for centering, and identifying feelings with grieving kids and teens.”
- Clear plastic bottle with a good fitting lid. Pop or water bottles work well.
- Clear glue
- Glitter-large, medium or fine, or a combination!
- Hot glue gun
- Paper plate
- Paper towel
- Warm water
Start with filling the bottle ½ to ¾ full warm water.
Add clear glue- a couple of good, long squeezes - or have the kids count to 10 while you or they are pouring the glue.
Add the glitter – about 1-2 tablespoons worth. Fine glitter will sink slowing and larger more quickly. Encourage kids to keep the colors in the same color family for the best results. If they pick pink and dark purple, the dark purple will overpower the pink.
Once they have the color combination they like, carefully pour the glitter into the bottle, put the lid on and shake up the bottle. If they want more glitter or want the glitter to sink more slowly you, add more glue and glitter to get the right consistency. Once they like it the way it is, fill the bottle up with warm water until completely full. Dry the inside of the lid and outside rim of the bottle thoroughly. Make sure the lid is also thoroughly dry, then hot glue the lid to bottle.
A child or teen can hold their glitter bottle, shake it up, and as the glitter slowly settles, talk about one of these opened-ended questions:
What do you notice about the glitter bottle?
How does your body feel when you are watching the glitter?
How many breathes can we do until the glitter all settles?
Tell us about the colors you chose for your bottle?
What feelings feel heavy like the larger glitter?
When have you felt that feeling before?
What feelings feel like the smaller glitter?
When have you felt that feeling before?
I also recommend this book about your body and feelings: Listening to your Body by Gabi Garcia
Invisible String Ornament
Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan Grief Counselor Cate Jarvis shares an activity based on the book “The Invisible String” that can serve as a beautiful reminder that we are connected to our loved ones through "invisible strings".
I start this activity by reading the book The Invisible String by Patrice Karst.
I like this book because it’s short and to the point, and keeps kids and teens - yes teens - interested. I also like that it addresses the feeling of missing a loved one by reframing it as we are still connected to each other by love - the invisible string.
After we read the book, we talk about the ways we are connected to our loved ones, through stories, memories, objects, songs, and events.
Supplies you will need to create the ornament:
- Markers-fine tip permanent markers work the best for writing on paper. Metallic permanent markers work best for writing on the outside of the ornament.
- Clear plastic fillable ornaments
- Papers cardstock of various colors. - Kids like to choose their favorite shades of pink, red and white.
- Heart shaped paper punch
- Some kind of filler - I used fake snow, which was very messy but the kids like it.
- String or ribbon to tie on to the ornament.
- Fine tinsel or sting for the “string”
- Hole punch
A few simple instructions:
Kids can choose to write the person’s name on the heart, a message or leave it blank before they place it inside the ornament. They can also put more than one heart in the ornament if they choose. Don’t forget to punch a hole in the heart for the invisible string to tie to. Sometimes they want to decorate the outside of the ornament which is ok too! Then get out of the way and watch the kids create their ornament.
Cate Jarvis is the Grief Counselor for Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan’s Grief 101, In-School Program in Kalamazoo Public Schools. Cate has served as the grief counselor since the inception of this innovative school program in 2006. The program supports students from diverse backgrounds who are grieving due to the death of a loved one, loss of their home, divorce, incarceration, or foster care. Small group sessions are held at the schools during the school day.
For more information regarding this program, please contact Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan at 269.345.0273.
National Hospice Association Resources
This list is provided for information purposes only. We are not recommending any specific group or agency. Scroll over links to activate them.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO): www.nhpco.org
Caring Connections (NHPCO): www.caringinfo.org
Palliative Doctors: www.palliativedoctors.org
Hospice Foundation of America: www.hospicefoundation.org
National Hospice Foundation: www.nationalhospicefoundation.org
Grief Support Resources
For support along your grief journey. This is a partial list of available support online. Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan does not endorse any specific internet sites and encourages using caution when disclosing personal information.
The Dougy Center: www.dougy.org (for adults and kids)
Griefwords Library: https://shelly-parkhurst-aua3.squarespace.com/config#/pages|/griefwords
Hello Grief: www.hellogrief.org
Michigan Network for Grieving Children: www.kidsgrief.org
Willow Green: www.willowgreen.com
Michigan Great Lakes Chapter
Support for caregivers and families.
Area Agency on Aging, IIIA
Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services
Community planning and administration of state and federal funds; referrals to community resources for those caring for an elder.
City of Kalamazoo Transportation Department
Handicap accessible transportation for Kalamazoo residents.
Assists in locating local support resources for older Americans anyplace in the United States.
Kalamazoo Department of Human Services
Determine eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps for Kalamazoo County residents.
Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors
Toll Free: (800) 347-5297
Toll Free: (800) 347-5997 Pension Rights
Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
3299 Gull Road, P.O. Box 42, Nazareth, MI 49074
Tel: (269) 373-5157
Fax: (269) 373-5185
Advocates on behalf of nursing home residents.
Medicare Social Security Administration
Social Security: Toll Free: (800) 772-1213
Medicare Helpline: Toll Free: (800) 633-4227
Senior Services, Inc.
Assist in locating services and resources for the care of adults 60 and older.
Assistance with personal care, light housekeeping and respite care for Kalamazoo county residents, 60 and older.
Meals on Wheels
Home-delivered meals to homebound seniors unable to prepare their own meals.