Photo: lightfieldstudios via 123RF

Creative family projects are an excellent way to make memories and bring everyone together for some fun. If you haven’t already, making a family time capsule can be a wonderful chance to showcase everyone’s interests, record hopes for the future, and send your future selves on an exciting treasure hunt to see what you saved! Here’s everything you need to know to make a time capsule with your kids this year.

Decide on a Future Date to Open

The first step to creating a time capsule is to decide when you’re going to open it. This goal date will inform many parts of the process, including what you put in and where you hide it. For little kids, a date too far in the future won’t sound very fun, so suggest a year or two as a starting point. Older kids may want to open the time capsule when they graduate high school or fulfill other important milestones.

Collect Meaningful Mementos

Once you’ve chosen a target date, it’s time to start collecting items! Let your kids find or make items representing important parts of their lives. If your son is very artistic, suggest a self-portrait or favorite paintbrush for the time capsule. If your daughter is the family Sudoku champion, have her include a partially completed puzzle to see if her future self can solve the rest! The vital part of this step is that everyone chooses items with personal meaning. When you open the time capsule in the future, the memories will come flooding back, and everyone will have fun recalling each object’s importance.

Gather Current Event Items

A time capsule isn’t complete without a few items that show the “current times.” A newspaper clipping (you might have to print one!) with a funny story from this week is an excellent addition—as are any magazine covers from your kids’ favorite publications. For an added glimpse at today’s world, have each child fill out one of these time capsule sheets listing their current favorites. Adding photos of your house, yard, and special friends can also be a fun addition.

Photo: twinsterphoto via 123RF

Write Letters to Future Selves

A letter to your future self is an often overlooked but memorable part of a time capsule. Since your kids know what age they’ll be upon opening, have them address something to that future version. What do they think they will have accomplished? What do they hope has happened in life? What questions would they ask themselves? Do they still know the password to the secret club at school? If your kids are too little to write independently, have them dictate to you and then “sign” their name at the end.

Choose Your Hiding Spot

Once you’ve collected everything for the time capsule, it’s time to decide where you’ll be hiding it. If you plan to hide it indoors (ideal for those who move often or don’t want to deal with dirt!), you’ll need to find a spot that isn’t easily accessible—you don’t want to tempt those small hands! For an outdoor spot, choose something that won’t get covered by large trees or cement walls in the coming years.

Pick an Appropriate Vessel

Your best vessel will vary depending on your hiding spot and the amount of treasure you have to put inside. Using a shoe box or other cardboard material is an easy option for an inside location. For an outdoor burial, make sure to buy a container that’s airtight so that no water seeps in. Stainless steel is an excellent option for vessels that must last many years (plastic will deteriorate over time).


Once you have your time capsule vessel selected, make sure to decorate it! For something you’re placing indoors, the sky’s the limit on decorations. You can even wrap the finished product like a present. For an outdoor version, think about decorating some wrapping on the inside. You can easily place everything in a decorated bag before you then place the bag into the time capsule for burial.


Your very last step is to hide the time capsule! Whether you’re burying it outside or placing on a shelf in the garage, make sure to note where its hidden. Have the kids draw a map to its location, then take a photo to save to your archives. Future-you will be grateful for the hint!

Making a time capsule is a great way to encourage your kids to be creative, so grab everyone and get started today!