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How to Make a Great Time Capsule

When I was seventeen, my church youth group did a time capsule activity.  I remember being very unenthusiastic about this activity.  Now, I can’t figure out why I wasn’t excited- this is exactly the type of thing I love to do!

Well, it’s been ten years since that activity took place.  While putting away the Christmas decorations in our Harry Potter closet under the stairs the other day, I found the time capsule.  My husband has been itching to open it up since we got married, but I’m a stickler for rules.

Since it is now 2010, we were finally allowed to open and reveal the great desires of my 17 year old self.

It was rather disappointing.  Remember- I was unenthusiastic at the time the capsule was sealed.  The things put in the capsule were mostly put in there by my dear friend Jill who wouldn’t let me seal it up without something interesting.  She made copies of pictures and cards for me.

And it looks like I grabbed a few things on my way out the door- the cover of a college application, a certificate for a judged piano performance, my senior picture.  These were interesting to see, but not exactly exciting.

There were two things in the capsule I was happy to see:

1. the pictures Jill copied.  Thank you Jill.


2. a sealed letter from my mother to me.

So that you don’t make the same mistake as me, I have compiled a list of things to include in a time capsule.  At the start of a new year and decade, now is a great time for your family to make your own time capsule!

What to Put in a Time Capsule

1. Lots of pictures.  It made me happy to see a picture of myself with my high school friends.  I am still friends with each one of them today.

2. Letters.  If your children are making a time capsule, write them a letter and seal it up (BEFORE they have read it).  Tell them what you love about them and what you hope for them.  Tell them what you believe and why.  Mention something about what they are currently doing in life.

Have your child write a letter to herself.  Those are so fun to read years later.  If you are making a time capsule for yourself, write yourself a letter.  Think about how old you will be when you open the time capsule, and write about what you hope to have accomplished at that point.

Have siblings, friends and even neighbors write letters too.  Be sure to have them include last names.

3. Lists.  I would have loved to have read a list of what I loved at the age of seventeen.  Or a list of what I hated.  A list of my favorite things in my room.  A list and description of my favorite outfits.  A list of my favorite song artists.  A list of my top 3 college choices.  A list of my favorite books.  A list of my favorite movies.  A Top 10 of my year…you get the idea.

4. Wages and prices.  It would have been fun to find an old pay stub and receipt for something I saved to buy.

5. Labels.  I found a little pink birdhouse with my name on it.  I have no idea where it came from, who made it or why I would have included it in my time capsule.  If you do put an item in your capsule, be sure to include a description of it’s origin and meaning to you at the time.

6. Movie stubs

7. Gas receipts

8. Grocery receipts

9. Your favorite book, cd or movie. Be sure it’s not your only copy since you’re sealing this up for a period of time.

10. Children’s artwork-label label label!  You won’t remember what the scribbles were supposed to be 10 years later!

11. Outlines of hands and feet

12. A lock of hair Since hair color changes (naturally or chemically), it could be fun to compare when you open the capsule.

13. An outgrown but favorite outfit or pair of shoes

14. A calendar of your year– with all the appointments.  Doctor appointments, vacations and piano lessons can be interesting years later!

15. Paint chips, carpet, fabric swatches from your house

Thanks for visiting! Stick around and check out my other posts. Want to get in touch? Send me an email at

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