The Amazing Liquid Timer


Mesmerizing, right?

The bubbles aren’t even moving, and you just want to stare at it.  I know.

Of my six-plus years in the classroom, four were spent in an integrated co-teaching classroom.  For those who don’t know, an ICT room has two teachers, sometimes paraprofessionals, and children with IEPs and without.  One of the perks of teaching special ed is that you’re exposed to all kinds of fun things designed to help kids in different ways.  The liquid timer, also known as a bubble timer, is one such tool.

My amazing co-teacher bought one on a whim, because our class was feeling less like this…


And more like this:

Ok, so bringing the strobe lights to school was a mistake, but still.  Not good.

The magic that is the liquid timer

These have traditionally been recommended for children with autism, as it soothes and calms in a very visual way.  I’m here to tell you that this timer will hook any kid.  We literally had six little bodies surrounding this timer, just staring.  In silence.  All thanks to these guys:


Some ways to use these in the classroom:

  • for a calming break
  • to calm a child’s body so he or she can attend to a lesson
  • as a choice to “play with” in free time

Possible real world uses:

  • keep some in the car as an alternative to DVDs or video games
  • bring along to a restaurant or doctor’s appointment
  • part of a calming bedtime routine
  • to keep in the time-out spot if that exists in your home

Can you think of other uses?  Post them in the comments!

Here are some other products that have similar affects.  These are a great alternative when you’re trying to limit mobile video games and videos.  Plus, they’re a throwback to our childhoods!


Check out the “Try a School Tool” page for links to all of these items.  Enjoy the peace and quiet!


2 thoughts on “The Amazing Liquid Timer

  1. I too have a collection of these and can attest to their power to mesmerize children. There are sand ones too. I even have one that is a long rod with a steel ball you slowly manipulate through the sand to get to the other end. The best use I found for them was a learning center. I would put out 5 or 6 bubble type timers and a stop watch and challenge them to figure out which was faster or slower by recording the number of seconds/minutes. Then they observed and measured how the speed changed if you shook them in different ways.

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