CRAFTY: Treat Jars

Mar 5, 2013 by

Who loves sweets?  This girl!  *thumbs pointing at self*

I can totally relate to my children's pleas to buy them a sugary bite of goodness when we're in line at the grocery store, or for a tasty dessert after dinner.  I want those things too, but after a while it seems I'm in an endless cycle of "no's" and "not now's".  I don't want to deny them this little joy in life, but there had to be a better way to handle this dilemma.  Enter the treat jars!  


The Rules

Every Sunday we sit down and fill each of their jars with 7 candies for the week (plus a pack of gum on occasion) .  The kids take turns picking from the much larger cache of candies collected from Halloween, Easter and assorted parties and putting them into their own jar.

Throughout the week they have unlimited access to their jars.  They can have their treats all at once or spread them out - it's their choice:  

1.  No treats after they brush their teeth for the night .  

2. Once the treats are gone they will not be refilled until the following Sunday.

Technically there's a third rule: 3. No treats at school - but that's because our school has a no candy policy. 

But the most important rule is the one for the parents:

The kids' treats cannot be held hostage for good behavior or eating their veggies.  

You see, that would defeat the purpose.  I want my kids to learn how to self monitor their own food cravings, and this has been a very simple and relatively painless way to help them learn that skill.

Our 7 year old son immediately decided he was going to have one a day, very sensible if you ask me.  Sometimes he even forgets and is excited to have extra treats later in the week. Our 4 year old daughter started off by eating every piece in one sitting, followed by a few days lamenting and begging for more.  That sucked a little, but not caving paid off because she now knows that when the candy is gone, it's gone.  She still seems to prefer the binge and wait approach to Treat Jars, but in smaller spurts.  2 or 3 candies in one day, then wait a day or so for a few more candies.

The Jars 

The Quick and Easy Version:

So you want to put these jars to work without all the fuss and muss?  Easy, just head to any home goods store and pick up a couple of plastic storage containers.  Pick up some adhesive letters from your local craft store and voila! You have treat jars ready to go.

Simple Treat Jars

The Crafty Way:

I thought it would be fun to make jars for everyone in the family, and let everyone personalize their own.  I headed to Michals and picked up a few glass jars, glass paint, adhesive letter stencils, sponges and brushes.  

Initially I purchased a box of Martha Stewart Translucent Gloss glass paints, but as you can see to the right here, they were a little shy on pigment (not like the examples in the store).

Elsie looks about as puzzled as I felt.

I went ahead and cured the dissapointing jars in the oven.  (Put them in a cool oven and set it to 350 degrees.  Once it has reached 350, set the timer and let it bake for 30 minutes.  There will be a smell, not particularly unpleasant, but normal FYI). 

As a side note: I suppose we could have wiped all our jars clean instead of curing them, but art is always done in layers.  Whether writing a first draft or casting our first strokes of paint, we do it so much more freely when we move forward  with the belief that we can always "paint over" the stuff we don't like.

Back to Michaels I went.  This time I came home with a box of opaque gloss glass paints, as well as a pretty shade of opaque pearl green.  Elsie had requested butterflies, so I grabbed some adhesive butterfly and flower stencils for good measure.  This time the result was to everyone's satisfaction.

I helped Elsie apply the Butterfly stencils, then she colored everything in on her own.

If you have an elementary school boy, then you know the "Creeper"

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