How To Create An Everlasting Time Capsule With Your Grandchildren

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Do you ever wish you could freeze time and make it so you could live in this one moment (and keep your grandkids this age) forever? As you know, this isn’t possible, but there is a way to capture this moment, so you always remember it via a time capsule. Are you not familiar with the concept of a time capsule? Neither was I until recently when my grandkids and I put one together that we could open in the future. Here is everything you need to know about time capsules and how you and your grandkids can make one:

Flickr/Chris Humphrey

What is a time capsule? 

A time capsule is precisely how it sounds: it is a collection of artifacts and mementos packed away and re-visited later. While this is a great way to record and share family history, it has long been used by explorers and other historical figures, the most famous of which, maybe Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, whose collection is housed at the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

What to add to your time capsule 

The sky is the limit with this because you can add anything non-perishable! The object of the time capsule is to capture this moment in time to share with your future selves or future generations. Here are a few easy and fun things you and your grandkids can add to your time capsule:

  • A letter (much more on that in a bit!)
  • The front page of today’s newspaper 
  • Magazine 
  • Pictures (or a photo album)
  • Print out of recent current events 
  • Awards or ribbons 
  • A questionnaire 
  • Report card 
  • Jewelry 
  • Toys 
  • Book(s)
  • The wrapper of a favorite snack 
  • Trinkets 
  • Family tree
  • A list of current prices (groceries, gas, etc.)

What to write in your time capsule letter

Writing the letter for your time capsule may be the most daunting part of this task, especially if you don’t think of yourself as a writer. Fret not, for no matter what you write, you (and/or your grandkids) will enjoy reading your words years from now! If you are looking for ways to begin your letter, I recommend a good, old-fashioned introduction explaining who you are and why you are doing this. Sure, that may sound repetitive and silly, but 10 or 15 years (or however long) down the road, you will all be happy to hear from past grandma and what she (you!) had to say.

After completing your intro, you can write about whatever you want – your mood, your life, wishes for your family, or goals you have for yourself. If writing out an entire letter is too much, you can always make lists of different topics, including:

  • Memories 
  • Current or past events 
  • A day in your life 
  • Song lyrics, poetry, or quotes
  • Wisdom 
  • Encouraging words 
  • Share a story 
  • A learning moment in your life

If you are doing this with your grandchildren or another family member, have them write a letter, too. Suppose you are making this time capsule for someone else to open. In that case, you should address the letter to them and explain why you included everything in the capsule and its meaning (in addition to sharing a little of the above information). Another fun tip for your grandkids is to have them share what they think their future holds, which will bring lots of smiles when they open the capsule years from now. 

What to use to store the items in your time capsule

You can get as creative with this one as you would like! If you plan to store your time capsule inside, whether on a bookshelf, in a drawer, in the attic, etc., you can use a shoebox, regular box, lockbox, or anything else you have on hand. However, if you plan to bury the capsule (or keep it outside somewhere), you will want to use something secure and waterproof, like a stainless steel capsule, airtight jar, or something of the like. 

Tips for making a time capsule 

  • Find a container before you begin collecting items, so you know how much/little space you have to work with. 
  • If you plan on storing your time capsule inside (vs. burying it in the ground), let the grands decorate the container with markers, glitter, stickers, or anything else you have on hand! 
  • To help preserve the items in your capsule, line the sides with acid-free paper and add silica gel packets to keep any moisture at bay. 
  • Find a way to remind yourself or others of the capsule, its location, and when to open it. Ways to do this is by setting a re-occurring calendar reminder or registering it with a free service like The International Time Capsule Society.

What to do when you’ve completed your time capsule

Once your time capsule is complete, and you have agreed upon a date to open it, simply seal it off, add its date of completion, and the date when it can be opened.

I hope that you and your grandkids have as much fun putting together your time capsule as we did! It really is a fun way to connect and create something that can be treasured for years to come. Let me know if you have ever made one or plan to do so soon.

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