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Memory Bottles

This has to be my favourite children’s story book and I own quite a few!!! It is written by Beth Shoshan and is a beautiful book. I love this story because I think no matter how old you are, there is something special about hearing this story and exploring your own thoughts, feelings and memories from days gone by and being able to share those with others.

Memory Bottles follows a young boy and his neighbour Mr McAllister. Mr McAllister has a shed full of bottles in all shapes, sizes and colours. They appear empty, so why does Mr McAllister keep them all?

As the story progresses, Mr McAllister explains that in each bottle, he has stored memories from his life including the day he met Mrs McAlister in her lovely blue dress, the day his team won a rugby match and hearing the crowd cheering and a day spent at the seaside building sandcastles.

Memories are important because they provide us with a connection to the past, and helps us to respond to situations in the present. Things we have learnt in the past, shape who we are today and those memories can bring meaning to our new experiences, building us into our future selves.

This book helps children to explore memories and encourages them to communicate the past and present events in their lives using their senses. I have used this book to help children explore not only happy memories, but to encourage them to discuss sad memories too. Sometimes the more difficult memories to discuss are the most important.

Sometimes talking about painful or unpleasant memories can be hard but when I use this book with children, they really respond well and it provides them with an opportunity to explore and share. There are many ways this activity can be done, we have drawn colourful bottles and used real ones. We have handwritten or drawn our memory inside as well as used our voices to speak into the bottle and then replace the lid.

The children then take their memory bottle home with them and chose to talk about it whenever they feel they would like to. Sometimes just knowing the bottle is on the shelf encourages children to never forget a loved one, a lost pet or a special day out.

If you have never read the book Memory Bottles, I would encourage you all to pick it up. The children I have worked with over the years really enjoy it and it is a wonderful way to encourage children to express how they feel about memories using all their senses.

Ultimately, we are never too young or too old to reflect on our memories. What memory would you put inside a colourful bottle?

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