The Book - The Mermaid's Bracelet by Beth Harwood
Little Page received this book as a gift for her 4th birthday. It's the story of Hannah, a little girl who is lonely during her summer vacation to the beach. She sends a message in a bottle hoping to find a friend and is surprised when a mermaid responds. The two become friends and together find a secret treasure.
Honestly, there's nothing particularly special about the plot or pictures in this book. Both are what I would call nice. What makes this book stand out is the correspondence between the two girls. Each page contains an envelope which holds a letter from Hannah to Shelley (the mermaid) or vice versa. One envelope contains a treasure map, another page holds a pop-up treasure box, and the very last page includes a large envelope containing a real charm bracelet (which Little Page lost months ago) and an "honorary mermaid" certificate. LP loves opening the envelope flaps and pulling out the different letters, each of which are written on sea-themed stationary. I love the book's emphasis on friendship and kindness.
The Craft - Message in a Bottle (an encouragement jar)
To go along with the book, Little Page and I created a "Message in a Bottle" encouragement jar. Here's how we did it.
- Take a glass milk jar (you could use a regular mason jar) and modge-podge torn pieces of purple, blue, and green tissue paper on three sides.
- Once it has dried, fill the bottom third with sand and small sea shells. Use a funnel to pour in the sand, or make one by rolling up a piece of paper.
- Write a message of encouragement on a small piece of paper. I chose to tell Little Page how proud I was of how kind she has been to her little sister recently.
- Take a length of twine or string and tie the end into a loop. Roll up your message and fit it through the loop.
- Lower the paper into the bottle until it almost touches the sand, then wind the extra around the mouth of the bottle and tie loosely.
- You can decorate the lid of the bottle with hot glue and small rocks or shells. (I'm always looking for ways to deplete Little Page's enormous collection of rocks!)
- Be sure to replace the message often to encourage your children when they have behaved, done something well, or just to let them know you love them!