If You Don't Know What 'Bottle Flipping' Is, Count Your Blessings

boy with water bottle

If you've found yourself disturbed by this bottle-flipping trend that's popular with kids (and even some adults) ages 4 and up, you are not alone. Don't know what I'm talking about? Oh, lucky you. This bizarre but seemingly addictive pastime isn't any more complicated than its name implies. You simply take a half-filled plastic bottle and flip it in the hopes that it lands perfectly on its bottom or its cap. Sounds super dull, right? Then why won't my kids stop doing it? 


Let me set the scene for you: I'm attempting to make dinner but I keep hearing this weird but rhythmic "thump-thump-thump" coming from the other room. Is my cat throwing himself at the wall? I wonder. What the heck is going on?

Peering into the living room, I find my 11-year-old mesmerized as he repeatedly flips a half-full bottle of bright red Gatorade over and over again right beside my cream and sage striped couch. 

"That lid better be on tight, buddy," I say, wondering why, when this kid has thousands of toys, games, and other more exciting activities, he's chosen this as a way to occupy himself.

But this isn't the first time or the first kid I've seen become entranced with the simple pleasure of upending a plastic bottle. His older brother, who fancies himself a budding Martin Scorsese, devoted an entire Saturday to filming trick shot videos in which it appears Poland Spring bottles sail over our house and land perfectly in our driveway every time. 

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And he's not the only one: YouTube is filled with young flippers, exuding Simone Biles–like joy when they stick the landing after tossing their Evian bottles. What gives?

Don't get me wrong -- I love when kids use their imaginations to turn items you'd otherwise recycle into toys. I've got no problem with the cardboard box that becomes a fort or the empty straws that become tabletop hockey sticks, but this bottle flipping is one game I just don't get. 

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I've now relegated this to an "outdoor-only" activity because the noise of it had me wanting to reach for a half-full bottle of my own -- but in lieu of water, I'm thinking bourbon.

And, of course, my children can turn any simple game into a potential trip to the emergency room. After the regular flipping becomes tedious -- and how could it not? -- they decide to use that half-full bottle as a ball, despite the fact that they're standing in a backyard littered with balls of all shapes, sizes, and colors. And, just as you'd expect, one of them gets hit in the back of the head and then spends the rest of the day moaning about it. 

Was I sympathetic? Slightly. Have I gone around and collected all the half-full bottles they've left in the basement, driveway, and attic? Yes, and I suppose until this fad passes, I should just be thankful the bottles aren't made of glass. 


Image via Velazquez77/Shutterstock

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