Could everyone please just slow down! My children seemed to grow up so fast, and now it seems my grandchildren are doing the same.
One of my grandchildren will soon be turning one (I swear she was only born last month) and as her grandma I want to begin a special family tradition, starting with her, that I think will be become meaningful to all my little muffins when they are older. I am excited to share this idea with other grandmas because I think it is going to be a powerful thing.
I read about a family who makes a time capsule for each of their children for their first birthday. Great, I thought. Sign me up.
There are many different ways to do time capsules, but they all have the same premise … place meaningful items in a container, seal it, and open it at a later appointed date.
You can tailor your time capsule to fit your vision.
Things you may want to consider:
When Should I Create a Time Capsule?
It doesn’t have to be on their first birthday … you could theoretically do it anytime. For example, you could make a capsule on another birthday, the day they are born, a baptism day, when they enter first grade, when they come to your house on a special visit, or at Christmas.
When Does It Get Opened?
You can choose when they open it, but I think it is a more meaningful event when the child is grown up enough to appreciate what is inside the capsule.
I like the idea of them being a teenager who might benefit from realizing how many people love and support them. I know that if I had a teenage grandchild who was struggling with something terribly difficult, like depression or drugs, to heck with the appointed date. I would to let them open it when they needed it for any strength and encouragement it might provide them.
It is best if you set an appointed date to open it … like on their 12th birthday, their wedding day, or when they leave home. I think I will have my grandchildren open it on their 13th birthday (when they officially become teenagers). What will also be cool is that most of the family won’t really remember exactly what they put into the time capsule and it will be fun to see all the things that come out .
You will also have to decide whether you want to tell your grandchild that the time capsule actually exists … do you want her to know and look forward to the opening day, or do you want it to be an unexpected, special surprise?
What Do I Want to Put In the Capsule?
The possibilities are endless!
Here is a list of a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing (you could use as many or as few of these suggestions as you want. I am writing the ideas as if you are doing this at a first birthday party, like I will be doing) …
– a letter/note from each person that contains such things as a wish, a prediction, words of advice, a memory or words of encouragement. They could come to the party with it already written or you could give them blank paper/cards or premade templates to write on at the party. They could attach a picture of themselves with the note (or you could take one at the party).
– the birthday banner from the party
– a group photo of all the people at the party with the birthday girl
– a newspaper from that day
– a list of the Top 10 Billboard Chart hit songs and Top 10 Movies on that day
– a small lock of their hair (if they have any hair)
– a favorite baby toy
– a picture of the birthday cake and the child eating it
– a video of the birthday party or each person could talk and leave a video-message for the child. You could put this on a USB or on a CD.
– the outfit the child wore that day
– I will be inviting each family member to bring (or send if they live far away and can’t make it) a small item for the capsule that is meaningful to him or her. Ask them to include a note explaining why they chose it. The note of explanation will help the child understand why that gift was chosen by that person when the time capsule is eventually opened. At the party I will have each person showed their contribution and read their note before placing it into the time capsule. Here are some examples of items that people have brought for a child’s time capsule that I have read about:
- A picture of a great-grandma who had died before the child was born. It came with a letter telling stories about the great-grandma and all her good qualities. The letter ended with the wish that the child also develop these qualities in her life.
- A photo album of “first impressions” from the child’s first year called My First Year of Firsts. It included pictures of her meeting family members, celebrating holidays, eating solid food, and wearing a party dress.
- A little figurine of a Precious Moments princess, with a letter telling the child that she is the daughter of a Heavenly King so she is of great worth and to always remember she wears an invisible crown.
- A CD from an uncle who is a musician containing his favorite songs. It came with a note of how important music is in our lives and encouraging her to learn to be strong and sing her own song.
- A recipe book of favorite family recipes and a note encouraging her to love to cook and serve others by feeding them.
- A gold locket on a chain that contains pictures of her parents. It came with a letter of how much she is loved and highlights of her first year of life.
What Container Will You Use?
Don’t bury your time capsule (which is what people traditionally did) … keep it in a closet, under a bed, in the attic, or in the garage (somewhere safe and out of the way). If you are just putting in letters or cards that family and friends have written to your grandchild, you could probably put them in a small sturdy, pretty box or in a large plastic Ziploc bag.
Since I am going to be putting letters and items in my time capsule, my container will need to be larger. I am going to keep them in something bug and waterproof. I have an 10 liter plastic bucket that contained hot chocolate powder and has a tight-sealing lid. Perfect! Your container choice will depend largely on how much you’re putting in it, where you are keeping it, and how long you want to store it.
Store all paper items in their own individual 100% polyethylene bags. If you are going to put in items like coins or CD’s, you should put them in something to keep them safe.
After the celebration, I will put “Do Not Open Until 2029” on the bucket and give it to my daughter to keep in their storage room.
We have all heard the proverb,
It takes a village to raise a child.
This is such a lovely, tangible way to have a child feel the care of the village of people who have helped love and raise her, and I can’t wait to try it.
If any of you grandmas also have suggestions on how to make a time capsule, please leave us a comment below and tell us all about it!