Activity for parents & kids: How to build a fun family time capsule

Whether you’re looking for something fun to do or are in need of a great family bonding activity, creating a time capsule could be a great project for both you and the kids. Kirsty Prankerd, Managing Director of keepsake company Write from the Heart, shares her tips for creating an exciting yet sentimental time capsule.

If you’ve ever created a time capsule before, you’ll be familiar with the wide range of emotions involved, from the excitement of putting it together to the anticipation of the reveal years later.

Now more than ever, as many of us are home-schooling our children due to the pandemic, we are looking for more ways to keep the kids occupied. Building a meaningful family time capsule is a creative way to evoke positivity, encourage mindfulness, and reduce anxiety around our current situation, all while teaching your children about history and the passage of time.

Below, I’ll be explaining the potential benefits of making a time capsule, as well as give you some tips for putting yours together.

The benefits of making a time capsule

The most distinct feeling associated with time capsules is undoubtedly nostalgia. Although nostalgia is concerned with the past, it can actually make people feel more inspired, motivated and optimistic about their future. This makes time capsules great for children who need an activity that is as fun as it is beneficial for their mental health.

Research has shown that nostalgia can have benefits for your child’s mental wellbeing (SAGE). Remembering happier times can help boost their mood, improve social connectedness, reduce boredom, and reinforce meaning in life. This doesn’t just apply to opening time capsules, either — putting one together gives children an opportunity to reflect on what makes them happy and can boost their mood there and then.

For example, if you were to put together a capsule about the pandemic, you can encourage them to remember the memories you’ve made during lockdown rather than focussing on the negatives, which can bring those positive feelings to the forefront. If your children are finding lockdown difficult, it can help to draw focus to the fact that things will change in the future and use the existence of time capsules as proof.

Any time capsule you put together can be a great, educational way to explain to your children how time capsules from different decades would be, giving them a history lesson at the same time. You can ask them to guess what items you would have put in your time capsule when you were their age, and even speculate what children in the future might include.

Image by freestocks-photos from Pixabay 

How to make your time capsule

The first thing you will need to make your capsule is a container. The best containers will be about the size of a shoe box so that they are large enough to fit your items inside, but small enough to bury or tuck away in a cupboard or attic. If you do intend to bury your time capsule in your garden, use a metal or plastic box so it doesn’t disintegrate while its underground.

In addition to putting items inside, your children can decorate their capsule to their liking. As part of the design, you may wish to get them to write their names and the date, as well as the words ‘time capsule’ or a short description so that it can be identified if it’s found by a stranger.

What to put in your time capsule

Your kids should be in charge of choosing what to put in the capsule so they can focus on happy memories, but you’ll need to supervise so they don’t choose anything too valuable or unsuitable like perishables. Guide them towards everyday items that may not seem special now but will be of interest in the future, such as coins or a newspaper. You should also put in items like drawings they have done or letters to their future selves that they can read when they are older.

Time capsules are also great for storing keepsakes and mementos, such as souvenirs from trips or days out, like seashells. Other things to consider include postcards from recent holidays, photographs, inside jokes, favourite books, small toys, and items belonging to family pets.

Where to bury your time capsule

The best place to bury your time capsule is outside in your flowerbed or garden. This will get your kids outdoors and interacting with nature, which is great for their wellbeing and development. By burying it outside, you can make the lowering and raising of the capsule into a kind of ceremony, making it a memorable experience for you all to share.

If you don’t have a garden or you’d rather not go digging up your flowerbed, you can just as easily tuck your time capsule away in a storage cupboard or attic until you’re ready to open it.

The tips in this guide can help you put together a wonderful time capsule your family can bond over during lockdown. From putting it together to the reveal years later, there’s little else as exciting and nostalgic for a family to do together.

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