Life is filled with lots of special moments and days that we want to remember forever. Looking back on old photos and items from when kids were little, or small trinkets that you’ve held onto can bring back memories and feelings. Time capsules are a great way to capture these moments in time. With this collection of 15 Time Capsule Ideas, you can record these moments and look back on them down the road.
Time capsules can be created with very little effort. You can create them to mark a special event, like a birthday or wedding or simply to record a moment in time. It’s a fun way to remember these events.
As a teacher, time capsules are a great way for children to record things about themselves at the beginning of the year, and open their time capsule at the end of the year, or at graduation. I’ve even included a link to a printable time capsule flipbook for every month of the year, or ten months for educators, to fill out and complete throughout the year.
Easily start recording memories that are special, that may otherwise be forgotten over time. A few free printables are available for subscribers. You can subscribe for free below.
You don’t have to wait years before opening your time capsule. It is up to you when you open it. However, the longer you wait, the more interesting it will become because you will start to forget about what all is inside.
How to Make a Time Capsule
Below are a collection of time capsule ideas. You can choose one idea to start and make it a fun project for kids to create. Some of the ideas are simply something extra to add to an event to make it extra special, and give you something to take out in the future to remind you of the day.
The time capsule ideas below give some suggestions of what to put into each time capsule. A general great idea of what to include are any items, or keepsakes, that symbolize the day, along with any photos or notes that are important.
You can never include too many things. Some items may hold more value then others, but the more you put in your time capsule, the more you will have to look back on.
You can put your items into just about anything! From a mason jar, envelope, cylinder chip container, a bin, or shoe box. The possibilities are endless.
Most of the time capsules can be made using materials from around the house. A few ideas below include links to products that you can download for free or purchase and print to include in your time capsule. Use what works best for you!
15 Time Capsule Ideas
#1 All About Me Time Capsule
This is a classic time capsule idea. At the beginning of each school year, I always have my students create their own time capsule. Filled with information all about them!
From their height and handprint to a list of all of their favorite things and a letter to their future self, there is a great assortment of recorded memories.
This is a simple time capsule to complete because all of the pages are available in a package to simply print and children fill them out.
Use a cylinder chip container for children to decorate and then put all of their pages in. It’s a great way to record lots of information and it is simple enough to do year after year. You can end up with a collection of time capsules.
You can use any All About Me booklet or sheets to include in your time capsule. Try adding a ribbon measured to children’s height to compare their growth when they open their time capsule. (A page to record this is included in the package.)
It’s your choice if you open the time capsule at the end of the year, or perhaps hang onto until the child’s graduation. Either way, the excitement and engagement as children open it can be even more exciting then creating it.
Start with the Free All About Me sheet from Hands-On Teaching Ideas Resource Library. Subscribe and download several pages to get you started.
#2 Monthly Booklet Time Capsule Ideas
Try creating an ongoing time capsule that children work on throughout the year. This monthly time capsule flipbook, can be printed to include all 12 months of year or condensed to 10 months, for the school year.
It is a great idea to use in the classroom because the booklet starts with simple questions and builds over the year to fuller pages. Each month requires children to fill out a few boxes or lines all about themselves.
At the end of the school year, you will have a beautiful booklet filled with cute pictures and information about the child. It makes a great keepsake for parents and families.
You can also have children fill out a page each month every month of the year at home. It is also a great New Year’s activity.
For more information on this printable time capsule booklet, visit Shop on Hands-On Teaching Ideas.
#3 Special Memories Time Capsule
If you are looking for a quick and easy time capsule that you can start today, this is a great option! All you need is a container and some paper! You can start this time capsule any day, but New Years is a good day to start.
Set the container and paper out somewhere that is easy to access. Each time you have something memorable happen, write a short sentence or note about what happened and then put it in the jar.
Children and adults can add to the jar throughout the year. Things like vacations, special milestones and even just fun family moments can be added.
On New Year’s Eve, open the container and read each of the notes. Each page will bring back memories to everyone involved.
One suggestion for this type of time capsule is to make sure that what you write on the note includes enough information. The first year we did this time capsule in our home some of our notes were too vague and we weren’t sure what a few of the notes were referring to.
#4 Time Capsule Project
The All About Me type of time capsule is ideal for children. You can complete one once, or do it every year. It’s a great project to work on at the beginning of the year with children.
You can use folders, with the free Time Capsule cover page (information below), to say when the time capsule can be opened. This time capsule is written at the beginning of the school year, either at home or in class, and then the set of student folders are sealed together and only opened and distributed on the student’s graduation.
For children who move during the years, teachers could give them to children before they move, or mail them out to students at their new school for them to open and enjoy.
#5 Baby Time Capsule
The arrival of a baby is an incredibly special milestone in a family. Often new parents hold onto special items from their baby’s birth and put it away – like a time capsule. However, below are a few extra items to add to your baby’s time capsule.
Write to the baby:
- Include weight, height, time etc. at birth
- Add story of their birth/labor
- Write your hopes and dreams for the baby and their future
- Have grandparents, friends, siblings, write a note to the new baby
- Include special mementos from the hospital
- Predictions for their future.
You can open it every year, add to it and have friends and family add to it as well. It is a great idea to include as a baby shower activity and have guests write a note to the baby to read in the future or read on the baby’s first birthday.
#6 Wedding Time Capsule
You can’t forget about weddings when you talk about special occasions. Although this is not an idea for children, time capsules have no age limit. A wedding is a great time to create a time capsule.
Whether you keep it simple and just include important items from the special day or the new couple write letters to each other to open on their anniversary, it’s a great day to celebrate by reminiscing long after the actual wedding.
One idea for a time capsule for a wedding is to have guests fill out short letters that they write to the couple. In the letter they can write about their hopes for them, advice, a favorite love story, predictions for the couples future or even their favorite part of the wedding.
The letters are then put into a box and locked, only to be opened on the couples first anniversary.
What a wonderful addition to celebrating the anniversary together!
#7 Summer Time Capsule Ideas
We tried this time capsule idea a few years ago and it worked out wonderfully! My kids always write a summer bucket list filled with all of the things they hope to do during their summer break.
The year is busy and they often come up with things that they want to do, but by the time the summer rolls around, we often forget about some of their ideas.
Therefore, we created a summer time capsule. Throughout the year we make a note of things we want to do during the summer and put it in a sealable box. A few ideas include:
- Books to read
- Places to go
- People to see
- Movies to watch
- New foods to try
- New things to bake
We don’t look at the notes throughout the year, the contents of the box simply grows and grows. Then, a few weeks before summer holidays, we sit down and look through all of our notes. There are always lots of ideas that we had completely forgotten about that we wanted to do.
Once you look through the notes, then create your summer bucket list. Take your ideas from the notes and put them on your list. It creates a really thorough, well thought out list and a great plan for summer!
Your box filled with notes, doesn’t have to be just notes. You can add things like seed packets that you want to plant and grow during the summer.
#8 Questions to Self – Time Capsule Ideas
As much fun as it is to create a time capsule, the real excitement comes when it is time to open it. The longer you wait the more exciting it is.
We have a book that we keep for my kids school memories and they love to look back on their old work and things they wrote. This time capsule idea is inspired by their booklets.
Create a list of questions. The more questions you can think of, the better. A few ideas include:
- Who are the important people in your life?
- Where do you live?
- Where do you work or go to school?
- What makes you happy?
- What makes you sad?
- Name something you are looking forward to.
- Is there anything in your life that causes you stress?
- What is your favorite food?
- What is your favorite movie?
- List a few things that you like to do for fun.
These are questions that you will revisit every year. You can always add to it, but it is fun to keep the same questions. Once you have your list, write down your answers to each question. The more detail you add to your answer the more fun it is to look back on.
Think about how funny or interesting the answers will be as you, or a child, gets older and answers change. Hang onto and compare answers from past years when you answer them again the following year. Your birthday would be a great day to do this!
#9 Yearly Time Capsule Ideas
A time capsule doesn’t have to be something that you lock up and set a specific date to open, however, it is fun to use them in that way. Another idea is to have a bin on hand to add things to throughout the year that are significant.
You can peek through your collection of items and at the end of the year close it up.
You can create a yearly time capsule that captures all of the most important events of the year. Each year a new bin is filled with memories. This can be a wonderful activity to look through the bins on a special day each year.
It’s also a great activity for families.
#10 Birthday Time Capsule Ideas
A birthday is always a special celebration, especially for kids, but it is also a great time to create a time capsule! Whether the party is for an adult or a child, this time capsule idea is sure to be a hit!
Have each person at the party, write a note to the birthday person. The note can be a few kinds words to the person celebrating or it can be comments about what they like about them, or even special memories they have with the person whose birthday it is.
As a twist, you can have everyone do this a month or more before the party and the give them to the person celebrating as a gift. These notes and memories are great to hang onto to reread in the future.
#11 Family Time Capsule
This time capsule can be done any time of year for any occasion. It would also be a fun way to spend a day together as a family. Start with a bin and have everyone in the family choose a 2-3 items that are important or significant to them.
They also need to be items that everyone is willing to part with. If they can’t part with it, try taking a photo of the item and including the photo instead of the actual item.
Once everyone has chosen their items, they can talk about why they chose it, and then put it into the container. Once all of the items are in the bin, seal it up and set it aside.
You can print and place the “Time Capsule Cover” on the top of the bin and fill out the date that the bin can be opened. Click the link below the image for more information and gain access to the free printable.
#12 Family Time Capsule for New Year’s Eve
The holidays are a great time to think about the year that passed and look forward to the future. It is also a great time for a family time capsule.
Throughout the year you can add important objects, photos and notes. Click the link below the photo for more information on this time capsule idea from Red Ted Art.
#13 Annual Time Capsule
The last day of something is great time to create a time capsule together with family or friends. This time capsule idea can even be used for special groups or clubs or families. It is a classic time capsule idea.
Everyone in the group works together to decide on a set number of items to put in the bin that are significant and hold meaning to everyone in the group. It can be a way to work together with other people and discuss the ways they are connected. It can create great conversations.
A few ideas for the groups to create an annual time capsule:
- A Sports Team
- A Camping Group – A group of families or friends that meet up and vacation together yearly
- Class / Grade – A group of students can create and add to an ultimate time capsule every year. Then open the collection of annual time capsules on their graduation.
You can open the time capsule each year as everyone is together again and look through the items. Each year the group adds a few items and over the years the bin fills.
If you think some of the items importance may be forgotten over time, you can add a little note for each year telling a little bit about each item.
#14 Mini Keepsake Ideas
These time capsules are adorable and you can end up with quite the collection.
Start by having a collection of mason jars. I like the fact that the jars are clear because you can see a little bit of what is inside and the jars are inexpensive. I suggest to have the jars on hand in order to make your time capsules as soon as you have the materials.
Each time you have a special day, trip or event, hang onto some of the items or photos you have from the event, such as a ticket sub, item found in nature at the event, photos from the day or even a note of something special that happened.
Another fun place to check is children’s pockets. What items did your child hold onto from the event that they felt were special enough to keep?
Place all of the small trinkets into a jar, label it and set it aside. It is a quick and easy way of recording the day and the jars are fun to look through at a later date.
#15 Daily Time Capsule
Time capsules are simply a great way to capture memories and keep track of special events in life. Children love hearing and learning about things they did when they were younger. The usually love hearing about themselves and the things they did.
A unique idea for a time capsule is to print off weekly or monthly calendars. Before bed each night, make a quick note of the highlight for the day. It does not have to be anything extravagant, simply something that stood out.
For example, a new food that was tried, a trip to the neighborhood playground or a movie that was watched.
You can write a sentence or two or simply a few words. Once the calendar is filled for the month, put the calendar aside with the previous calendars to create a collection of calendars all holding daily memories.
Wouldn’t you love to be able to look back at what you did years ago or as a child?
Hopefully you have found one or two of the time capsule ideas that you like. Keep in mind the more details and time you put into filling out and creating your time capsule, the more you will enjoy it when you open it.
If you wait years to open a time capsule, but there are only a few words written, it can end up being a disappointment. The more you include, the more meaningful it will be.
Things to Put in a Time Capsule
The above time capsule ideas also give suggestions for things to put in a time capsule. However, if you are simply creating a time capsule using an assortment of things, below is a basic suggestion of what you can include:
Things to Write Down
- Favorite things, such as food, movies, books etc..
- Facts about you, such as where you live, work or go to school, birthday etc.
- Shoe size
- Who is important to you
- What you like to do in your free time
- Sports or hobbies you have
- A typical day
Things to Include
- Photos from trips
- Pictures of friends and family
- Special items from events or special days, such as ticket stubs
- Things that make you happy, sad, excited
- Newspaper article or news clipping
- Letters – written to future self or letter written by someone else for you
Have fun creating your time capsule. Enjoy the process of choosing important items and things. Children will often stay engaged with this project because they will get to talk and share about themselves.
Best of all enjoy the wait before you open your time capsule and the memories remembered and made when you open your capsule.
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All About Me Package
Make creating your time capsule easy with this printable All About Me package. Pages of kid friendly questions and activities all about them! Measure and record child’s height and shoe size and record lots of fun, memorable information about them.
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If you are looking for more learning activities for children, below is a collection of our favorite and most popular activities. From more time capsule ideas and first day of school activity ideas to party ideas and writing activities to help with creating things like time capsules, there is lots to keep kids busy and learning.
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