Want to Start a Fun New Family Tradition? Try These Time Capsule Ideas

It’s always fun to add new family traditions, and here are some great time capsule ideas for marking important events in your life as your family grows. Time capsules allow you to look back at your lives together to see how much the world has changed while celebrating your continued devotion to each other over the years.

In the past, time capsules have been created to last for long periods of time to record major changes in culture and society. They were meant to be opened only after many decades of past. But recently, families have started making time capsules to mark life events like marriages, graduations, and the birth of a child. These time capsules are finally opened after only a few years — or only one year — to see how much has changed and to enjoy a little nostalgia.

If you’d like to start creating these fun crafts with your own family, here are some time capsule ideas you can put to use.

How to House a Time Capsule

First, decide how long you’re planning to keep your time capsule before opening it. If you’re planning for ten years or more, your capsules should be housed in a sturdy, waterproof container. If you plan to bury your time capsule, use a stainless steel container. You can also make an inexpensive one from PVC pipe with capped ends and seal it with plumbing joint cement.

If you’re only going to keep your time capsule for a few years, you can choose any suitable container large enough to hold all your time capsule ideas, like a plastic storage container, a nice hat box, or even a shoebox. For short-term time capsules, the container itself sometimes serves as part of the contents. A kids’ licensed lunchbox from the movie or TV hit of the year adds another dimension that marks the era.

What to Put in a Time Capsule

What you put in your time capsule really depends on who you plan to open it. For short-term time capsules for small children, you will probably want to add items that reflect the child’s age, stage of development, personality, etc. For longer-term time capsules, you’ll want items that reflect the state of the world when it was created. Here are some time capsule ideas that will work with both long and short-term capsules:

Image: CC0 Public Domain by crookoo, via Pixabay.

Time capsules should capture a “snapshot” of current affairs.

  • Daily newspaper from your resident city
  • Daily newspaper from Washington, D.C. or NYC
  • Weekly news magazine
  • Coins issued that year
  • List of top films and songs or digital copies on DVD or CD
  • Time capsules should also include something personal.
  • Letter addressed to the opener on acid-free paper
  • Pictures of the people making the time capsule

Baby Time Capsule Ideas

You can create a time capsule that captures life on the day your child was born. Choose whether to open it when your child starts kindergarten, graduates from high school, or has their own first child. Consider creating duplicate time capsules: one for you and one to for your child.

What to put in baby time capsules:

  • A note to the baby from the parents
  • Photos of the mother during pregnancy
  • Photos of parents, grandparents, siblings, family home, pets, etc. from that year
  • ID bracelet and ID cards from the hospital
  • Copy of local and national newspapers
  • A set of coins issued on the year of birth
  • A savings bond issued that year for the baby

School Time Capsule Ideas

Create a time capsule when your child starts kindergarten and to mark the years of graduations from elementary through high school

What to put in a time capsule for children:

  • A personal note from parents
  • Newspapers and news magazines from their birthday week
  • Their school pictures from that year
  • An almanac for that year
  • A favorite toy or keepsake
  • A lock of hair

Yearly Time Capsule

One fun craft you can do with children of any age is to create a simple yearly time capsule. You won’t need a very sturdy container or a long list of time capsule ideas for this activity. Choose a time of year, rather than a life event, and build a time capsule that you can open next year when you make another one. Good choices might be at the start or end of every school year; every birthday or every spring break; any month where there aren’t any holidays. You’ll only need a few items, such as:

  • Daily newspaper
  • A school assignment your child did well on
  • An art project
  • Pictures of the whole family, including any pets
  • A letter that your child writes to themselves
  • A photo of them with their favorite toy
  • A letter that you write to your child
  • Picture of them with their homeroom or favorite teacher
  • A small toy or keepsake
  • Programs from school events they participated in
  • A snapshot of them with their best friend(s)
  • Self-interview or Q&A

Image: CC0 Public Domain by Alex77UK, via Pixabay.

Use your imagination. Since you’re only planning to keep it closed for a year, you have a lot of leeway putting it together. The yearly opening can also be an opportunity for them to learn from their successes and failures as they think about how they’ve grown and changed over the course of the last year. They can also learn about goal setting by writing a list what they would like to achieve in following year.

Wedding Time Capsule Ideas

Many couples (or their wedding attendants) put together time capsules to mark a wedding. They make a great bridal shower gift to open in five, 10 or 20 years. You can even work with other friends as a team and each creates a time capsule for the first anniversary and, in addition, every five-year anniversary thereafter. You can present your capsule at the shower, or even at the wedding.

Image: CC0 Public Domain by Sefgrt via Pixabay.

Here are some great wedding time capsule ideas for your favorite couples:

  • Newspaper and news magazines from the day of the wedding
  • Candid photos of the bride and groom from their pre-marriage days
  • Pictures of the rehearsals, shower, stag night, etc.
  • Letter and picture from each of the wedding attendants
  • Letter and picture from the couple’s parents
  • Videos from the hen and stag night on CD or thumb drive
  • Bottle of good wine or whiskey bottled the year of the wedding
  • Savings bond for the couple issued that year
  • A letter or note from their wedding Officiant/Clergy
  • A transcription or video of their wedding vows
  • Personalized invitations, programs, seating cards, wedding favors

For anniversary time capsule ideas, you’ll want to find a beautiful container to house your keepsakes. For short-term storage, like the first and fifth anniversary, you may want to house them in a useful, yet romantic container. A picnic hamper makes a nice wedding capsule box for the first anniversary.

Keeping Your Time Capsule Items Safe

Depending on how long you want your time capsule to last, you should look into a durable, damp-proof container that will stand up to time. Use archival grade (acid-free) paper for all letters and notes. For long-term time capsules, theSmithsonian Institute has time capsule ideas for preserving your precious items so that they’ll be in the best condition possible when revealed many years later.

Feature Image: CC by CC 0, kreamospublicidad via Pixabay

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