Preserving Memories

I always wanted to be one of those crafty Pinterest mothers who could whip up a brilliant art project for my kids at a moment’s notice. Sadly, though, I’m a total klutz with a hot glue gun and glitter makes my head spin.

Luckily, building a family time capsule takes zero creative genius, money or any particular skill with crafting materials. If you’re looking for a marvelously fun activity that can include your whole family then this is it.

My three kids, ages one, four and eight, and I recently built our own family time capsule and it was an absolute blast. Instead of just tossing some stuff into a box and calling it a day, we turned the family time capsule into an adventure.

First, I gave my two older kids a scavenger list of items that they could include in the time capsule. On that list were open-ended ideas for them to hunt down, which took the better part of two hours. Their list included prompts such as “small enough to fit in your hand and funny enough to make you laugh” and “flat and colorful with at least one name on it.” They each found a small plastic toy that they were willing to part with for a year and then they each drew a picture and signed it in their sweet loopy kid handwriting.

For my one-year-old, I pulled out some paper and finger paint and I let her stamp her hands and feet all over the paper. After it dried, I rolled it up and wrote a description of her age, the day we had together, and a guess at how much bigger she will be when she opens the capsule next year.

We also conducted family interviews, which made everyone laugh out loud. Creating your list of questions is very easy and makes for a fun way to tailor the project to your own style. Ask your kids questions about what they think about mom and dad, how to define big words or questions about their futures. Record their answers to be read aloud when the capsule is opened.

Other items to include in the time capsule are goofy family photos or school pictures, original works of art and writing like poems and stories penned by your kids, and neat little trinkets from nature walks or small art projects.

Have an adult write a description of what is inside the box and maybe make some fun predictions for what will happen over the course of the year. Then, either pack the box up in a storage space, or have the whole family choose a spot in the backyard to bury it. If you choose to bury the time capsule then make sure it is sealed up in a waterproof container to keep the contents nice and dry.

Once the family time capsule is sufficiently hidden, have the kids draw a map to help them remember where they hid the time capsule. Then in a year — or however long you decide to keep it hidden — dig it out and get a glimpse of how life was earlier.

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