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How to do a Time Capsule for Your Family

Updated on January 31, 2019
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Mazlan has an affinity for trivia and fun facts that he loves to share with others.

Making a family time capsule
Making a family time capsule | Source

Make a Time Capsule

Are you looking at something unusual and memorable? Something that you can do to preserve the valuable memories for you to cherish together? Then you should do a family time capsule.

What Is Time Capsule?

A time capsule is like a message into the future in the form of snapshots of events and thoughts of that day. It gives a glimpse of what happened on that particular day and it can also be your family heirloom.

Make Time Capsule as Your Family Project

Get every member of the family to be involved. Consider this as one of your family projects. It is fun as well as educational. You can make as many time capsules as you like. Just make sure it is for a different event.

Why Do Family Time Capsule?

There are several reasons why you should do a family time capsule. It could be:

  • To mark a special occasion such as the birth of a baby, child graduation from kindergarten or high school, or your job promotion
  • To chronicle your family’s history
  • To preserve the family’s memories
  • As a special gift to your loved one
  • As a family treasure box or heirloom
  • To preserve the memoir, event, and thoughts of the day
  • To record your family’s visions, desires, and aspirations for the future
  • To record your message to your loved one
  • To bring the family together for the future unveiling of the time capsule

Your child's first step can be the reason for making a family time capsule
Your child's first step can be the reason for making a family time capsule | Source

What to Put in a Time Capsule

What to put in your time capsule will depend on the reason for that time capsule in the first place. Is it to mark your kid’s first birthday, to remember the happy occasion that you are pregnant, that you are moving to a new and bigger house or just a simple reason to record the event of that day?

Make it personal and appealing. Just focus on things related to the reason, and things that happen on that day.

Things to Put in a Time Capsule

Here are some examples that you may want to consider:

  • Something that will mark the event of that day (like your child’s exam results) and you can also write a short story on it
  • Photos of you, your family, your other family members (grandma, granddad, uncles etc.) and friends
  • Photos of your home and neighborhood
  • Photos of your pet
  • Photos of your favorite things
  • 1st page of your local newspaper
  • Letters and notes of the current event
  • Letters to be addressed to you and your loved one
  • Any personal memorabilia like an old shoe, shirts etc.
  • An empty can of your family’s favorite drink (the design can change, so it’s nice to see what it was then)
  • Drawings by your kids
  • Video recording (could be of your child’s first step or his first word or his first birthday etc.)
  • Tracing of all family member’s feet and hands
  • Your vision, goal, aspirations, and predictions
  • Shopping receipts
  • Anything else that is relevant to the reason why you have that time capsule

You may want to do all these in the form of a scrapbook.

Checklist for Your Time capsule

  • Ensure all items are labeled with a brief description of location, names, and dates. However, if you focused on the event of that DAY itself, then you do not have to date every item.
  • A brief summary to the people who will be opening the time capsule, reasons for the capsule and list of contents
  • Put only items that you do not need but relevant to the reason, idea, and concept of why you have that time capsule (like to mark your son's first day at school)
  • Items stored must be of non-biodegradable materials.

Things You Need to Make a Time Capsule

To create this family time capsule, you will need, among other things, the followings:

  • Any waterproof airtight container. Depending on where you intend to keep this time capsule, you may want to consider using a fireproof container. The size of this container must be adequate to put all your contents. You can also buy a specially made time capsule container.
  • Airtight plastic bags such as Ziploc
  • Camera, to take photos of the event of that day
  • Acid-free papers and envelopes to write notes, thoughts, messages or anything significant and individually sealed in each envelope.
  • Artifacts, personal items, and mementos
  • Video recording if required
  • Other items such as a front page of that day's newspaper

Where to Hide

So where should you keep or hide this family time capsule?

You can bury it in the front garden. If you choose this option, remember to dig it out should you move house, do any extension to your house or anything else that may permanently seal it.

Alternatively, you can put it in a less trafficked area like in the attic.

Remember Where

Whichever location you decided on, record its location and of the agreed date to unveil it. Otherwise, you will forget especially if you choose to have a longer period before you unveil the time capsule.

When to Open Time Capsule

Not only will the kids be looking forward to opening this time capsule but you as the parent will also be anticipating this big day. The longer you set the opening date, the more dramatic and significant will you see the changes. It could be 5 years, 10 years, or more. Whichever period you choose, stick to it.

A time capsule by Brigid Coleman
A time capsule by Brigid Coleman | Source

Start Your Family Time Capsule Now

Your family time capsule will freeze and preserve your family’s special moments or ideas of that day. It will regroup all family members for this unveiling of the time capsule. It can be fun and it can be sad. Whatever the outcome, this family time capsule will definitely be cherished and appreciated for years to come.

Have you started on your family time capsule yet?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Mazlan


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    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @jpcmc, Let me first congratulate you on being a new parent and yes, it is a good idea to do a time capsule for your baby. Thanks for dropping by and sharing.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      8 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This is a nice idea especially for new families. As a new dad, it would be nice to do something like this and save some memories in a time capsule.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @teaches12345, let us know once you start on one!

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @Joy M, I am pleased that you found this to be helpful.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @CyberShelley I agree with you. It will be a good idea to start on one. Thanks for all the votes

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @rfmoran You are right. Anything related to technology will poise problems when you unveil the time capsule later. Thanks for adding and sharing this info.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @krsharp05 It will be a good idea to write a hub when you start doing this time capsule!

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @cactusbythesea Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @billybuc , Thanks for visiting and sharing. Sorry to hear about your loss. I guess you can still do a time capsule with your son. It will be something for both of you to look forward to!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      I think this is an idea I will try with my grandkids when they come to visit. It would be fun and something to look forward to one day -- at least for them. Great idea to hide it in the attic.

    • Joy M profile image

      Joy M 

      8 years ago from Sumner, Washington

      I love this idea! I also liked krsharp05's comment about doing one a a family reunion. I missed the family reunion before last and my grandparents had died before the next one. It would have been great to have a time capsule to open.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      greatstuff, what a simply wonderful idea - we still have grandparents alive, so imagine how great this will be for my grandchildren. Voted up, interesting and follow.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran - The Write Stuff 

      8 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Brilliant idea. I wish my ancestors had thought of this. Cautionary note: in our digital age, anything recorded on other than paper might not be accessible in the future. If you put a bunch of stuff on a flash drive, how will a future descendant access it? Imagine a time capsule from the early 1980s recorded on an eight inch floppy disc, using a TRS-DOS operating system. So either ignore digital data or include a computer or other type of reader with the items. Voted up and beautiful.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      8 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      This is a wonderful idea. My family has a family reunion every two years and it would be so great to start a time capsule when everyone is together and open it together. Having our grandparents write letters and memoirs for the younger generations and adding old photos...I love it! -K

    • cactusbythesea profile image


      8 years ago from Seattle

      Great idea! I wish my family had done this when I was growing up. Thanks for sharing!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This really is a great idea; unfortunately there is very little family left; all dead and gone except for me and my son....I guess we could do one and hope he has kids. Great hub!


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