How to Make a Time Capsule for Kids

Do a favor for your future self and your kids and save time in a bottle by making a time capsule each and every summer. Years from now, you’ll be so happy that you did.

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June 18, 2020

Commit to making memories this year any way you know how. The easiest way to document the passage of a significant year in your family’s life is to build a keepsake time capsule. Creating your own time capsule doesn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming, or expensive (and you shouldn't even feel hard-pressed to bury it in your backyard). Use your time capsule to document history, personal accomplishments and small details of memories that will otherwise certainly fade with time.

Putting pandemic keepsakes in a water bottle to create a time capsule.

Upcycle an Old Water Bottle as a Time Capsule

Store keepsakes from the novel Coronavirus pandemic or from any period of time in an old aluminum water bottle.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Pack mementos away in a shoebox in the back of a closet for future discovery, or within a sealed container in your own backyard if you know you'll remember where it was buried. You can also store those memories in a display you can see every day by using a shadowbox picture frame, or enclose them in a pretty wooden box stored on a bookshelf. Whichever way you can manage to capture this time in our lives, revisiting that time capsule in the future will bring you — and your family — right back into this moment. Whether you’re in quarantine for COVID-19 or looking to honor a specific moment in your personal life, use this time as an opportunity to create something significant.

Materials for a time capsule:

  • An airtight plastic box
  • Plastic garbage bags or resealable bags
  • Old thermoses, school lunch containers, or even that dented metal water bottle that you no longer carry around; if the seal is good, it'll be durable underground but you may still want to put items in a sealed plastic bag
  • Wooden boxes, for shelf or closet storage
  • Shadowbox picture frames
Shadowbox memory wall frame with family treasures.

Memory time capsule in a shadowbox picture frame

Store memories in visual way by using a shadowbox frame as a time capsule in which to display them in your home.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Things to consider adding to your time capsule:

  • A USB drive with videos and photos
  • Records of virtual learning: letters from teachers, copies of significant school assignments, your kids’ writing samples, drawings, or hey, maybe just the awesome Piggy and Elephant sketch your kid produced after a lunchtime session with Mo Willems
  • Examples of drawings you hung in your window; it’s not every day you have banners in your windows or display hand-drawn rainbows for community support
  • Mementos from your birthday, especially if it was a memorable event or a milestone birthday.
  • A list of the home improvement projects you tackled over the summer
  • Your favorite puzzle
  • A photo of your family’s porch portrait
  • A bullet journal, or a few important pages torn from your everyday journal
  • Newspaper
  • A detailed outline of your best homemade bread recipe
  • Handprints made with finger paints
Child's Drawing of a Rainbow

Step Four: Display Artwork

Use metal or wood clips to hold your art pieces in place on the metal grids.

Photo by: Rennai Hoefer

Rennai Hoefer

Simply put, add anything you think might be interesting to remember, whether personal, related to our circumstances, or mementos that capture what your home and family look like right here, right now.

Processed with VSCO with a10 preset

Processed with VSCO with a10 preset

Build it, display it, bury it with a marker, and then set a calendar reminder to open it up with your loved ones on a date well in the future.


Make a keepsake for your future self with this handy kit.

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