The recent story about a 10-year-old boy who found a message in a bottle -- dropped in a river 21 years ago -- made me feel all sentimental and crafty. The writing of the letter, the picking out of the bottle, the trip to the beach to put the bottle to sea. The mysterious blond who finds it 20 years from now and tracks down my son, falls in love with him and, oh wait, that's a movie (and it always makes me bawl like a baby).
Okay, reality. I love this idea of sending a message in a bottle and I think it's something you could even convince a tween and teen to do. Lucky me, I won't even have to mention it twice with my little guys. "Tossing a bottle into the ocean? YAY! Let's GO!"
It's pretty simple to do...with a little help from your kids, of course. I've adapted these instructions from WikiHowTo.
- Find a cool bottle, either glass or plastic will do, and make sure it has a cap or cork that fits securely. Wine and beer bottles give it that picture perfect look, but if your kid wants to use a plastic water bottle, go with it.
- Have your child write a letter. With younger kids, let them use their own spelling (it's painful, I know, but you can do it). If the kids are older, don't include any personal information like an address, phone number, or any details that make some freaky deaky show up on your doorstep. A family email address would work fine.
- Roll up that letter tightly, tie a string around it and slip it into the bottle. Don't forget to seal it! If you're concerned about the note getting wet, you can always run a little duct tape around the cork/cap.
- Let your kid toss that message in a bottle into a moving river (so long as you're not breaking any rules).
- Tell your kid to be patient. Someone will find that bottle, but it could take a really, really long time.
I also found some fun instructions on how to send a message in a bottle in the mail. I'm thinking this would be a cool summer project for kids to keep in touch with friends out of town.