While schools are preparing to open their doors for the first day of a new academic year, many parents and caregivers are scrambling for fresh ways to entertain their kids. My mom retired from teaching fifth grade several years ago. I remember Bottle Buddies being one of her favorite reading projects. Each year, she asked her students to read a book and create a character, using an empty 2-liter bottle and craft supplies. An annual favorite of hers was Where the Red Fern Grows. Like her, my daughter Brooke and I cherish this Wilson Rawls’s classic.
Brooke is preparing to enter 6th grade, and she completed the Cadette Girl Scout Good Sportsmanship badge this summer. As part of the badge requirements, she chose to read a book about Mo’ne Davis, the female Little League Baseball pitcher. In addition to the activities suggested in the badge booklet, I encouraged her to make a Mo’ne Davis Bottle Buddy. Using an empty plastic bottle, paint, markers, popsicle sticks, felt, yarn, beads, cardstock, a styrofoam ball, and googly eyes, she created this masterpiece. She chose to add beads to Mo’ne’s hair, recalling a story about the time when an umpire told her to remove the beads from her hair for a game because the opposing coach said they were a distraction.
When my younger daughter saw her sister working on the Mo’ne Davis Bottle Buddy, she expressed interest in creating one as well. I should mention that our family has been gearing up for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio for the past several weeks. Using an empty plastic bottle, felt, googly eyes, markers, and brown sugar, this fourth grader created Michael Phelps–love those abs. Oh, I’m sorry, she tells me this is Michael Felts. As you can see, this kid’s quite a character.
This summer, many students participated in a reading program at a local library. Most likely, there are several characters they’d like to bring to life. Or maybe the special kids in your life are excited for the Olympics. Give them an empty plastic bottle and some craft supplies, and let them get to work. Please feel free to share your Bottle Buddies by leaving a comment below. I’d love to see them!