Build a Time Capsule!

What You Need:

  • Paper (assorted types and colors)
  • Markers
  • Photos
  • Airtight container or scrapbook box

What You Do:

  1. Tell your child you’re going to create a special time capsule all about him. He can use it to document an event in his life (like his graduation from kindergarten, a summer vacation, a family trip) or his likes and dislikes (favorite foods, friends, movies, books, and more) for a certain time period. In a year, you’ll dig it up and take a look at what he was like at this point in time. It’s kind of like a letter to his future self!
  2. Don’t worry, you don’t need to purchase a weatherproof canister for this project. You and your child can use any type of airtight container or even a large box like the ones found at scrapbook stores. You can bury the box in the yard or just put it up on a high shelf to examine a year from now.
  3. Deciding what to put in the time capsule is part of the fun. Brainstorm with your child to come up with ideas. Time capsule material can range from items to tuck inside as-is (ticket stubs, programs from a play) to things created specifically for inclusion. Feeling stuck? Here are some suggestions:
    • A handwriting sample (have your child write his first name and last name if possible)
    • Best friend (s) – include a picture if possible or just list their names and include an illustration
    • First day of school (include a picture and have your child write or dictate the words for you to write an account of his feelings on that day)
    • Favorite color
    • Favorite television show
    • Favorite outfit (and a picture of your child wearing it)
    • Favorite foods (and a picture of your child eating them!)
    • Favorite book
    • Favorite sport
    • Favorite subject in school
    • What I want to be when I grow up
    • A recording of your child reading his favorite book
    • A copy of your child’s handprint and/or footprint (trace it or use paint to make a print on paper)
    • String or yarn used to measure your child’s height. (Once you’ve measured, cut the string to represent his height and place the string in the time capsule.)
  4. What else can you put in there? The list of candidates is endless, so use your imagination and ask your child for suggestions! Use as many real photographs and videos as possible. After selecting the items and placing them inside, you and your child can find a secure spot to “hide” the time capsule, with the understanding that you will open it only after one year has passed. Just think of your child’s delight and surprise as he opens that box and catches a glimpse of the person he used to be. He’ll likely be surprised to find out how much he’s changed in the past year, but also, how many things remain the same.

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