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Little boy making a time capsule

How To Make A Time Capsule With Your Kids

pick your time, place and treasures

Did you ever make a time capsule when you were a kid? It was so much fun to pick out some items to include and decide where you were going to bury it. It’s even more fun years down the road when you decide to finally open it again. I opened the one I created in kindergarten when I graduated high school. Seeing what I included was a flash from the past and reminded me of some things that I forgot I was interested in at that time. So if you’re looking for something to do with the kiddos right now, consider creating a time capsule!

Here’s how:


Because your time capsule is a personal item, it’s completely up to you and your kids what will hold everything. Overall, you want it to be something that will last in the environment you decide to store it for years.

So before you pick a container, decide 1) the duration of the capsule and 2) where you’ll keep the capsule.

You have more flexibility in your choice for capsules kept indoors, particularly if the duration is only 5–10 years. If the duration is longer than 10 years (or closer to 20 years) or you’re planning to bury the container somewhere, you’ll want to choose something much more durable.

You can use:

  • A bottle (glass or plastic)
  • A box (one that can’t be easily opened or is weatherproof—think metal)
  • A coffee canister
  • A bag (if not being buried anywhere)


Once you’ve decided what will hold all of your items, have your child decide who the audience will be for the capsule. Is it them? Is it their future kids? It could be anyone, but depending on who they decide the capsule is for, that can determine what they might want to include.

Consider including:

  • A letter written to their future self or future kids
  • Pictures
  • Magazine or newspaper clippings
  • Toys
  • A takeout menu from their favorite restaurant
  • Some form of technology
  • Old keys
  • Journals or letters
  • Books
  • Drawings or artwork
  • Coins
  • A list of what’s included so whoever opens it knows exactly what’s inside

Pro Tip: If you decide to add any paper items, pack them in a plastic baggy so the items will be safer from any elements and age.

What not to include (it’s a short list):

  • Anything perishable—no food, no drinks. You don’t want anything that could rot or leak and destroy the other items inside.


First and foremost, choose a place that you know you or your future family members will always be able to have access. Burying the capsule in your backyard seems convenient, but what if you move? Or if you keep it in your house, would you be tempted to open it?

If home isn’t the best choice, consider a public place that’s safe from future development and construction. For example, if you’re planning to bury your capsule, choose a spot near a landmark or national park.

Finally, clearly mark your capsule with the current date and intended opening date. Feel free to include the name of who can open it or the name of who created it if desired.

Pro Tip: If burying your capsule, consider engraving the container or using weather-proof paint to mark the outside.


Once you’ve put your capsule together, don’t forget to create some kind of reminder that states where it is and when it’s supposed to be opened. Do this by making an event in your calendar on your computer or phone, or write a letter that you keep somewhere safe with a set of instructions.

And that’s it! Enjoy creating a time capsule!

Image courtesy of iStock.