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How to Make a Family Time Capsule

Preserve memories and create new ones with an exciting family project that will transport your future selves back in time!

Maria Bailey · 5 months ago

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A time capsule is a treasure trove filled with present-day things — ranging from photos to newspaper clippings to letters and drawings — that is hidden away out of reach, whether it’s deep in your closet or in the ground. Fast forward to years in the future, and it will be time for you and your family to resurface your time capsule, rediscover old artifacts, and relive memories from the past.

We’ll pass the mic to Peppa Pig, who does a wonderful job explaining what a time capsule is in this short 5-minute video:

Here’s what you’ll need

To create your very own time capsule, you’ll need time and — you guessed it — a capsule! A capsule can be any kind of container, depending on where you plan to store it. You could go the traditional route by burying your time capsule in your garden to unearth it years later, or you could tuck it away deep in your closet, garage, attic, or basement (you get the idea) for safekeeping. If you plan to store your capsule outside, you want a container that is weather-proof and water-tight like this one to ensure your collection is safe from the elements. If you plan to store your time capsule inside, you might use an old shoebox or plastic storage container.

What to put inside

There are no rules! You can make your time capsule whatever you want it to be. But it helps to imagine what items you might appreciate when thinking back about this current period in your life. The possibilities are endless, but here are some ideas to help you get started on your time-traveling memory capsule:

1. Photos of you, your family, and friends

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No time capsule would be complete without a recent photo or two of your loved ones. When it comes time to open your capsule in the future, it will be fun to see what you looked like during this time and what pictures you chose to represent your family and pals. 

2. Write an all-about-me page

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What is your favorite color? How tall are you? What’s your favorite hobby or song? Years down the line, you’ll get a real kick getting to know the old you and discovering how much you’ve changed — and how much you’ve stayed the same! This downloadable time capsule sheet asks all the questions your future self will thank you answering for years down the road. 

3. Include creative projects you’re proud of

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This could be a drawing, a poem, essay, or science project you worked on. Or, better yet, create something specifically for your time capsule. Perhaps a drawing of what you think you or the future will look like? 

4. Trace around your hand

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Your future is in your hands. Including an outline of your hands will show future-you just how much you have grown — literally and figuratively.

Include a magazine or newspaper

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What is currently making headlines while you make your time capsule? Whether it’s stories about the once-in-a-hundred-years pandemic or your favorite pop band on the front cover of a magazine, articles in print provide amazing context and insight into what was happening in the world around you when making your capsule. 

6. Write an aspirational letter to your future self

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If you could tell yourself one thing in the future, what would it be? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Who do you want to be? Present-day-you might have different ideas for the future, which makes rediscovering this letter all the more fun!

8. A toy or stuffed animal

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Place a sentimental toy or stuffed animal in your time capsule for safekeeping and reunite with it someday in the future. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and we’re sure you’ll appreciate finding this in your collection of prized things. Make sure to include a description and name (if it has one), so you’re properly reacquainted!

9. Lastly, include today’s date and the “do not open until” date

When you’re ready to seal your time capsule, make sure to write down today's date as a record for the future, and set a reminder for yourself 5 or 10 years from now when you’re ready to open it! You could do this very simply by writing a reminder email to yourself today before scheduling it to arrive years, or even decades, later. Be sure to use an email address you intend to keep on using so your reminder doesn’t get lost in the abyss!

We hope you have a blast making this blast from the past project! Say hello to your future selves from us, but in the meantime, keep being awesome!