Marking a birthday or the start of your child’s school year in a unique way involves creating a time capsule. This offers a perfect chance to preserve memories that will hold a special place in your heart for years to come. Not only does a time capsule serve as a delightful way to reminisce about the past, but it’s also an enjoyable project for kids! Assist them in storing their cherished memories with the help of our guide below. 

What is a Time Capsule?

A time capsule is a container that holds present day items, such as photos, newspapers (if you still receive those), letters and more. It’s typically hidden away for your future self or someone of your choosing to open. This is perfect as a gift to yourself or a gift for your child for future years. Have another family member hide the box, so you aren’t tempted to open it! Want to hide it for a year? Five? Ten? There’s no time limit! The rules are all up to you. Shoeboxes are great for indoor safekeeping, while weather-resistant boxes are best for the outdoors. 

Want to make your time capsule extra special? Check out our personalized keepsake boxes for indoor safekeeping. 

How to Make Your Time Capsule


1. Choose Your Container

In order to make your time capsule, first you’ll have to choose a container in which to store it. Choosing your container depends on how long you are planning on keeping it hidden. This is a great opportunity for your little ones to get involved. Have them pick out the box or help them decorate the box before it’s filled.


2. Determine Where You’ll Store It

For indoor storage, a shoe box, wooden box, large plastic storage container or even a mason jar will work. If you want to DIY something from the kitchen, consider using a cookie tin or egg carton for your time capsule. You might want to gather all of your time capsule items together first to determine the amount of storage space you’ll need. You can hide your box in a storage closet behind other items. An attic, basement or garage are also great locations. You want to hide your time capsule somewhere where others will not find it!

For outdoor safekeeping, consider a weatherproof, non-biodegradable container such as an old metal coffee can, popcorn can or a box made of stainless steel. Make sure this is secured before hiding or storing your box outside. Bury your time capsule in a garden under dirt where little to no rain hits, or in an outdoor garage. You could also ask a friend or family member to hold on to the container, just don’t tell your little one who has it!


3. Decorate Your Time Capsule

Next, decorate your container. We have included a few sizes of labels you can use for your time capsule, with a fill-in-the-blank section for your child’s name and date of opening. Print, cut out and glue on the top or center of the container.

Time Capsule Ideas

A meaningful time capsule should be both personalized and fun! If the time capsule is to celebrate a birthday, include items from your child’s birthday like photos and cards. You could also include a notebook with thoughts over the year, or information about your child’s height and weight to compare later. If your child is older, you can place graduation diplomas or certificates from sporting events in the capsule. The options are endless!

Here are a few more ideas on items you can include in your time capsule, along with printable prompts to include as well. These can be written from you or a loved one that you can stick in the time capsule, or have your child write a note to themselves to reflect on later.

DIY Time Capsule Ideas:

  • Their favorite fashion trends from a magazine
  • A newspaper published on their birthday
  • Certificates/ribbons from sports games
  • School papers/art projects
  • Photos from the past year/years
  • Party items such as confetti
  • A book with a special note

Now that you’ve gotten your box full of memorabilia, it’s time to add personalized messages. We have included a few printables you can place in the time capsule to share your love with your child. A Note to Me, from Me can be a future note to your child that they write themselves. My Favorites and Goals for the Year will also be written by your little ones. If your child is too small to write them on their own, write down their answers for them. A Message for a Wiser, Older You can be from their parents, grandparents or another important adult in their life.


A Note to Me, from Me

Encourage your little one to write a note to their future selves. Ask them to offer a piece of wisdom to their future self, and suggest that they write something they expect for the future.


A Message for a Wiser, Older You

This can be a note to the child from you. You can write things you love about them, the hopes you have for them and the values you hope they possess. This is ideal for an older child in their pre-teen/teen years.


My Favorites

Have your child write down their favorites of the year, like favorite color and book. This is a fun way to compare what was trending and what they liked in previous years. When you unearth the time capsule, ask them if anything stayed the same!


Goals for the Year


This printable is perfect if you are creating the time capsule for New Year’s! Have them write down their goals for the year ahead, and then the next five and 10 years. Depending on when they open their time capsule, they can see how much they’ve accomplished. Plus it’s a great motivator to get things done.

One year or many years from now, your child will open their time capsule and glimpse a frozen moment of good times with loved ones. This personally designed time capsule preserves a moment in time, with special memories, dreams and aspirations for your child’s future. This special project is inexpensive, takes little effort and is a gift that can be treasured for years to come!