Create a unique, heart warming keepsake to open in the future
Have you been looking for time capsule ideas to do with your family?
I was recently doing some decluttering and organizing when I came across a storage photo box. Inside the box was a Pre-K Graduation Certificate from my daughter, some photos from that day, and other random keepsakes. There was also a wonderful scrapbook from her Kindergarten Teacher. These items brought back good memories, made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and put a smile on my face.
It’s amazing how items from our past can make us feel so good, and help us to remember the past.
I rounded-up a bunch of ideas for family time capsule themes, how to make one, what items to include, and how to store them. This is going to be so much fun! Read on to get started.
What is a Time Capsule?
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A family time capsule is a sealed container filled with items that represent your family’s life, is stored for a given period of time, and then is opened by your future self (or anyone else of your choosing).
How long you will store the time capsule depends on who you want to open it. Your audience could be your future self, your kids or grandkids, or even hiding it away for a stranger to find someday.
- Here are some suggestions:
- 1-10 Years – Personal Family Time Capsule for You or Your Own Children / Family
- 30 – 60 Years – Generational Family Time Capsule for Your Grandchildren
- Milestones such as Weddings, Anniversaries, or Graduations Instead of a Specific Date
- As Long as it Takes for a Stranger to Find it Someday
Time Capsule Ideas for Families
A time capsule is a really unique way to preserve family memories for the future. You should begin by deciding who will be opening it and what you want to include about your life and the world around you.
Check out these Time Capsule Themes to get started:
Your Family in the Present-Time
I really like this idea to capture what life is like for your family. Put in a filled-in questionnaire from each family member, write a letter to the future opener of the time capsule, photos of the inside and outside of your home, photos of the kid’s school, family and pet photos, a grocery receipt, ticket stubs, list of favorite activities or foods for each family member, Top 10 Lists of Music, Movies, TV Shows, or Famous Personalities, Newspaper Clippings, School Lunch Menus, and more. Photos of favorite outfits and what everyone’s hairstyles were (these always bring back memories, and maybe some laughs as well!).
Baby’s First Year or First Birthday
Include a collection of items from the baby’s first year of life to remember that time, and give it to him or her as they graduate high school and go out into the world on their own.
Photo Scavenger Hunt
Make up a list of places, people, pets, or things that represent your family, and take photos to include in a time capsule. Ideas for your list are favorite hang-outs like parks or family fun centers, movie theaters, schools, churches, vehicles you have, your house, pets, the street you live on, favorite restaurants, friends or relatives, favorite toys, clothing, photos of favorite snack food and more. Really get creative and have some fun!
Wedding or Anniversary
Wouldn’t it be fun for you and your kids to open a time capsule in many years and find items from your wedding or a special anniversary? You could include your cake topper, cake cutting knife, guest book, cards, photos, and/or party favors (as long as they are not edible!).
Vacations with family are special times. Whether things go good, bad, or somewhere in between they are usually great for spending quality time together. You could include postcards from places your family went, souvenirs, photos, and a list of what each family member’s favorite part of the trip was. You could also include a letter with any funny stories or memorable moments on your trip.
Your Family’s Favorites
I am certain each member of your family has a favorite snack, meal, outfit, nail polish color, TV Show or YouTube Channel, game, toy, hobby, activity, etc. Why not make a list of each and take a picture or include the item in the capsule? You may be surprised years later what your favorites were at that time in your life.
First Day of School
This is a unique idea for a shorter time of only 1 school year. You could include a picture from the first day of school, a letter or form that has Grade Level, Teacher’s Name, What They want to be when they grow up, Favorite Thing from Summer Break, and anything else special. Then open it at the end of the school year as a fun way to look back and see how things changed.
What to Put in a Time Capsule
The next step is to gather the items to put in your project. The objects you decide to collect will depend on who will open the time capsule, and if there is a specific theme or more general.
Here is a list of ideas to get you started.
✔ Photographs of family, friends, pets, favorite outfits, hairstyles, vehicles you own, school, and the street you live on.
✔ Art Projects
✔ Movie or Event Tickets
✔ School Lunch Menu
✔ Family Questionnaire filled out with info for each family member
✔ Grocery Receipts and Take-Out Menus
✔ A letter to yourself or the person opening the container
✔ Lists of Top Ten Songs or Movies
✔ Pictures from First and Last Day of School
✔ Baby Photo, Hospital Bracelet from day baby was born, birth announcement, favorite toy, baby’s handprints or footprints
✔ Wedding picture, cake topper, cake knife, cards, invitations, guest book
✔ Graduation Photo, Yearbook, Photos of your friends from school
✔ Newspaper Clippings with Headlines of what is going on in the world at that time, and/or Magazine Articles about Current Events, Pop Culture, and/or Fashion
How to Make a Time Capsule with Kids
Making the time capsule container is one of the best parts of doing this project. Your kids will have fun getting creative with what type of container to use and how they want to decorate it!
Step 1: How Long will your Time Capsule be Stored
Think about how long you plan to store your container.
Here are some suggestions:
- 1-10 Years – Personal Family Time Capsule for You or Your Own Children/Family
- 30 – 60 Years – Generational Family Time Capsule for Your Grandchildren
- Milestones instead of a Specific Date such as Wedding, Anniversary, or Graduation
- As long as it takes for a stranger to stumble upon it someday
Step 2: Choose a Container
The type of container you choose will depend on where you intend to store it, and how long it will be there.
If you are thinking of burying or storing the container outside, then you will want it to be sealed, waterproof, Rust Proof, and able to withstand heat and cold. Stainless Steel, Aluminum, and PVC Plastic are good choices. Check out this article from the Minnesota Historical Society for detailed information on storing and preservation of your items.
Check out this container available on Amazon if you want to store outside.
If it is going to be indoors then the container type isn’t as much of a concern. Mason Jars, Photo Boxes, Shoe Boxes, Aluminum Coffee Cans, Stainless Steel Containers, and Plastic Bins are some good choices. Please consider where you will be storing your project, and if water or humidity exposure is likely. You don’t want to use a cardboard container if there is a risk of it getting wet.
Step 3: Decorate the Container
Now comes the fun part! Grab the paint, glue, stickers, construction paper, markers, glitter, and anything else, and personalize the container however you want.
Step 4: Place Items in the Container
Put the heaviest items in the bottom, and keep items from touching each other in the container by putting them in plastic bags, archival sleeves, etc. Keeping your objects separate will prevent the transfer of ink or premature degradation of the materials inside.
Include an Inventory Sheet of the items inside, and what they are so the people opening the container will know what each item is and what it meant to you (eg; A child’s favorite toy from a certain age, pictures are labelled with who is in them and the occasion, what trip a souvenir is from, etc.).
Step 5: Seal and Label the Container
Seal the container, and label the outside with the current date and the Date or Milestone it should be opened.
Make sure to note where you put the time capsule and when you want it opened so you don’t forget. Include a picture to help you find it later.
Time Capsule Storage Tips
You will want to ensure the items in your time capsule stay in good condition while they are hidden away.
Here are some tips to preserve your container and the items inside of it.
✔ Ensure all items are dry before putting them in your container. Any moisture can cause degradation and mildew/mold to form.
✔ Don’t include food or edible items because they will go bad and possibly get moldy, or just plain gross over time.
✔ Use Silica Packs to help absorb any moisture. You can grab some of these packets from items you have purchased, or just buy new ones for your project.
✔ If you are burying your container outside you will need to ensure the container is airtight, waterproof, can withstand heat and cold, and won’t rust, crack, or otherwise decompose.
✔ Papers and Photos should be kept in special archival sleeves if they will be stored for a long time. This will help prevent degradation.
✔ Make sure to take note of where the time capsule is hidden and when you want to open it so you don’t forget. You could even take a picture of it so you (or someone else) will know what it looks like.
Check out this article from Wikihow for even more information on how to keep your time capsule and the items inside in good condition.
Final Thoughts about Time Capsule’s
I hope this article gave you plenty of family time capsule ideas, and you will enjoy creating your own project with your family.
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