A Fun Activity for the Whole Family: Message in a Bottle

Message writing in progress!

We are currently in the middle of a home renovation that includes a two-storey addition on the back of our tiny wartime home. One of the highlights of the new design is an expanded kitchen. I couldn’t wait for the old kitchen to be gutted (I’ve always hated it), but when it was finally torn out, a surprise awaited us. (A good kind of surprise, that is.)

Our construction crew discovered that someone had scrawled a message behind the old cabinetry. (Which you can read here.) I thought that was so cool! At that moment, I decided that we had to write a letter to someone in the future, too.

What you’ll need:
• Pen
• Blank paper
• Wide-mouth plastic bottle (it just seemed more durable than glass)
• Sharpie


1. Write your message. You can also include a family photo or a page from a newspaper.

2. Use the Sharpie to decorate the outside of the bottle if you like (it will distinguish it from ordinary garbage).

3. Seal your message in the bottle, and forget about it.

We’re going to ask our contractor to hide it somewhere in the new addition.

We had a lot of fun figuring out what to include in our bottle, especially since it’ll be hidden away for many, many years. My daughters wrote surprisingly long letters. They decided to write about:

• Our favourite foods, books, musicians, TV shows.
• What we like to do in our spare time.
• Our technology (“I like to play games on my iPod.”)
• A bit about our family and pets.
• Our hopes and wishes for the future (“I hope there are still polar bears.”)

Just think: if you found a 100-year old message in a bottle, what would you like to know about the family that left it behind?

You special messages can be left anywhere, not just on a construction site. How about hiding a message somewhere on your next road trip? Or in the crook of a tree at a campsite? You can bury it in the sand on the beach, or in the playground. Think of how exciting it would be to find one!

Andrea Tomkins is a mother of two imps, and wife of one. She’s a freelance writer who is often found with camera in hand or scribbling madly in her notebook. She is passionate about arts and culture, travel and healthy living, and gets an extra big thrill out of helping parents and kids discover all the hidden treasures Ottawa has to offer. You can follow her adventures on her blog, a peek inside the fishbowl, where she’s been writing about family life since 1999. She’ll be sharing a great new craft idea here at CF.ca every Friday.

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