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Ornament can help a friendship flourish

Summertime means meeting new friends, whether it's a teammate in the park baseball league, a bunkmate at camp or a distant relative met on a family vacation. Your child can foster the new friendship and have fun at the same time by reviving the old English custom of sending a friendship ornament.

Traditionally, friendship ornaments containing a special token were shared between friends to symbolize the endless treasures of a relationship. It was customary for friends to pass the ornament back and forth for years.Here's how you can make a simple rendition of the classic ornament:

Punch six evenly spaced holes around the tops of two clean, clear plastic drinking cups. Or recycle clear plastic, individual-serving applesauce containers. Invert one cup on top of the other to form the ornament.

Decorate the cups with craft paints in bright colors and include the names of the two friends. Be sure to invert one cup when decorating it so that the designs coordinate when assembled! Let dry.

On a small piece of paper, write a special note or poem explaining the unique gift. For example:

"There's a treasure for you in this friendship pack, Replace the surprise and send it back. When it arrives, I'll think of you, And send you back a treasure that's new!"

Place the note and a small treasure, such as a matchbox car, a barrette or a baseball card, in one container. Or choose treasures you pick up along the way that provide clues to what the friend is up to during the summer, such as a pebble from the lake at camp, a pine cone from a trip to the park or flower petals from Aunt Mary's garden.

Set the matching cup on top. Use a 20-inch piece of cording or ribbon to lace the two cups together through the punched holes. Secure the ends with a bow or knot. Place in a sturdy box and send.

Donna Erickson is the author of "Donna's Day: Fun Activities that Bring the Family Together" (HarperCollins), available in bookstores nationwide. Dist. by King Features Syndicate