Inspire Good DREAMS: DIY Dream Jar

Little M has nightmares.  Oh boy does she have nightmares.  For week long stretches she will wake up screaming for me in the middle of the night…every night. On one of our frequent library trips I found The Dream Jar by Lindan Lee Johnson and Serena Curmi.

In the book, the dream jar holds small pieces of paper, each one a memory or hope that can take the main character out of her bad dream and plop her smack dab in the middle of a good dream. (You can read more about my review of this and other good dream books here.) By the end of the book we knew exactly what we had to do.

Little M must have a dream jar of her very own!

Make your dream jar... great way to empower kids to change bad dreams to good!

How to Make Your Own Dream Jar

What you need: paper, crayons, good dream ideas, an ohh so fancy container to hold the dreams.

On the day we made the dream jar, Little M and I read The Dream Jar again. While we went through the morning we talked about what types of drawings she would put in her dream jar to inspire good dreams. We remembered some of the very best experiences she’s had and talked about what fun things she hopes for in the future. By the time we sat down to draw, we already had a long list of good dream ideas.

Make your dream jar... great way to empower kids to change bad dreams to good!

I wanted this art activity to feel extra special so we found a quiet spot in her room and set up her play tent.  I used a cookie sheet to give Little M a hard surface.  We cut small pieces of paper and started drawing.

By then end we had a large stack of dreams. Some were made by Little M, and some made by me. While we worked she insisted that this dream jar would hold dreams for both of us… but I would need to come to her if I suddenly awoke in the middle of the night. I suppose she is the keeper of the dreams!

Make your dream jar... great way to empower kids to change bad dreams to good!

Next on the list… a jar to hold the dreams. For the picture I found a cute, clear, plastic container. Little M made a different selection and it was no surprise to me. She has a love for empty tissue boxes. Whatever container you choose for your dream jar, just remember if you want your little dreamer to have it close to them at night glass may not be the best choice.

We had a great time talking about each picture as we placed it into her new dream jar. Little M carefully chose a place for her Dreams and believe it or not we both enjoyed an interpreted night of sleep. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Tips (to maximize learning):  1. Pull a dream out of the jar before going to bed and talk about it for a while so that it is fresh on your little one’s mind before they drift off to sleep. 2. Let your little one draw most of the pictures, encourage them to tell you about their drawings.

Questions (to ask your kids):  “Can you think of a time when you were happy? What were you doing?” “Draw a picture of a person or thing you love.” “How can you use the dream jar to help you in the middle of the night?”

Are bad dreams ever a problem at your house? What fun ways have you found to switch them to good dreams? 

This DIY Dream Jar originally appeared  May 24, 2011.


  1. My adopted kids have some terrible memory related dreams, so we will definitely give this a whirl. Anything to give them peace in their own heads. We have done an anti-worry jar and that has been effective. We listed the worries and them put a superhero (dino for my boy and fairy princess for my girl, their choices!) solution to banish it away. If we have a worry we can look in the jar or our heads for the superhero to see what we do about it. I hadn’t considered doing a dream one, I think I thought that the anti-worry jar (ka-pow) would fix all ailments.

    1. I love the superhero jar. Such a creative way to teach kids how to face their worries and handle them (with a little superhero help.) Thanks for sharing.

  2. Cool idea.. I have somewhere read about the monster liquid to get rid of monsters for kids who can’t sleep due to fear of monsters…:-)

    now this dream jar is yet another cool idea to boost some imagination and also helps in sound sleep too…thanks for sharing.

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