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If we didn’t find a way to try and focus on the happy memories of 2020, we’d probably all go nuts. Creating a family time capsule with mementos from your life together this year is the perfect way to do just that! 

A time capsule is a container that you put present-day items, such as newspaper clippings, photos, small toys, or artwork, in and then bury or hide to open at a later date. 

Once opened, your family time capsule will remind your kids of special memories and feelings from 2020 (focus on the positives here, lol). 

In this article you will find a printable activity that includes a checklist and template for writing a letter to put in your family time capsule. 

Kids can use the printable to help them put together the perfect time capsule. You can download the full printable within the article, but first read on to learn a little bit more about how to make a time capsule, including important tips for how to bury it. 

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Why Make A Time Capsule?

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably down to your LAST pack of construction paper, and you’re letting the kids do pretty much whatever the hell they want to entertain themselves. 

That’s cool–no judgement here. 

But if you feel like you need to redeem yourself with an activity that kids age 3 and up will enjoy, making a time capsule together just might do the trick. 

Plus, it’s a great way to focus on the positive outcomes of 2020: all that precious family time you got to spend together. And no, we’re actually not kidding. 

Let’s face it; despite all the distance learning, bickering, and not being able to go anywhere, it has been nice to slow down and watch our children grow from the vantage point of our own homes.

Why not encapsulate that? 

Time Capsule Containers

Before you send the kids off to collect items that they want to put in the family time capsule, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. 

And while you don’t actually have to buy a time capsule (you can simply bury a large plastic container–just make sure it’s airtight), there are some great ones on the market that won’t break the back.

Here are our favorite time cheap capsule containers:

  1. This Stainless Steel Time Capsule comes in a variety of sizes, and it’s waterproof and anti-corrosion! It will stand the test of time, so make sure your kids are prepared to wait a while to dig it up.
  2. A Nasa-Inspired Time Capsule will be especially fun if your kiddos love all things space! It’s waterproof and airtight, so whatever treasures go into it will come out exactly like they did when you put them there.
  3. Need something a bit bigger? We like this Survivor Drybox for larger items. If your kids can’t compromise on what to put in it, no worries! This box will hold it all. 
  4. Not interested in burying anything in the backyard? We feel you. Try this adorable, personalized family time capsule box. The inscription, “the year we stayed safe at home and made a million memories together” is about as cute as the dang box!

Time Capsule Activity

Okay, so you’ve bought your preferred container, and you’re ready to let the kids fill it up to create a time capsule.

Don’t let them go at it willy nilly, though. Let’s be real here–there’s no freaking telling what they would bring back.  

We love the checklist below to help them consider what appropriate items they want to put in their time capsule. From photos of their pet(s) to their favorite artwork, there are many options to choose from! 

Help your kids gather their favorite memories and tokens, but make sure to help them choose items that they won’t miss too much as the time capsule will be hidden away for some time.

checklist of items to include in a family time capsule

Download the printable activity from Coupon Chief below to help you construct the perfect time capsule!

cream colored banner with orange circles that says download time capsule printable

Ideas for Time Capsule Letters

Writing a letter to their future selves is a great addition to any family time capsule. Be sure that you write one to your future self, too!

The template below ensures that they will mention and discuss your family as well as their current interests, friends, and aspirations. It will be really fun for them to look back on what was important and of interest to them. 

And it will be fun for you to look back at this time and recall all the hardships and memories. 

fill-in-the-blank letter template to your future self to include in a family time capsule

Tips for Burying a Time Capsule

This might be the least “fun” part of making a time capsule for you as a parent, but it’ll definitely keep the kids occupied! 

Here’s what you need to know about burying a time capsule:

  1. Let the kids do the work if they are old enough. This adds an extra layer of investment in the family time capsule, and frankly, it keeps you from having to get dirty. Win/win. They might need a little help getting the hole deep enough, but you can at least let them start it on their own. 
  2. Make sure to bury your time capsule at least four feet below the ground. This ensures that small animals can’t dig it up, and heavy rain or flooding won’t affect the buried capsule.
  3. Don’t put anything perishable in the time capsule. Your kid might want to throw in a fruit roll-up, but that’s ultimately a bad idea as it will encourage small animals to excavate your time capsule. No one wants to wake up the next morning to see their hard work strewn all over the yard.
  4. Mark the spot. This might sound obvious, but put a big rock or other marker on top of where you buried your time capsule. This way you won’t have to dig up half the lawn in five years when you go looking for it. Consider a family garden stone to mark the spot.

How Long Do You Keep a Time Capsule? 

After you’ve filled up the time capsule and buried it good and deep, you’ll need to decide as a family how long it will stay buried (or put away if you don’t plan to bury it).

It’s important for small children to understand that their letters won’t be opened for quite some time, and the items in the time capsule won’t be available to them for a hot minute (so no lovies or extra special stuffed animals).

You and your family can decide how long it makes sense to wait. 

It could be a year or even five or ten years into the future, but once you’ve decided how long you will wait to open it, go ahead and write that date down. Put it in a note on your phone or stick it on the fridge with a magnet.

You can even host a little family capsule opening party whenever you choose to open it!  

Have you explored how to make a time capsule? If so, tell us your tips and tricks in the comments!

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