Build a family time capsule

A time capsule is a treasure box that preserves the past. We will remember the big events--the exciting trips, the new baby, the big fish that got away-but we tend to forget the smaller features of family life. The routines that shape our days, the school papers, the size of our child's hand, the family's favorite foods, take on a special significance when examined twelve months later. A time capsule captures these priceless details and helps to give a child a sense of passing time, a slippery concept even for adults.

If you plan on burying your time capsule outdoors, you will need a waterproof container: a plastic tub with a lid, or a large jar works well. You may also use an old lunch box, or a cardboard box sealed in a knotted plastic bag.

The afternoon we put our time capsule together, I asked the children to tell me the best and worst part of their day. I wrote this down beside their name and put it in an envelope. We also added individual lists of "Things I am Good At," as well as school papers, drawings, and one special toy apiece. Your child can write a letter to himself, outline feet and hands, or describe dreams, ideas, and favorite pastimes. Height and weight measurements can also be included for comparison when you dig up the capsule.

Seal your treasures in a plastic bag, and place in the container. Bury the capsule in a secret place, or hide it in the house, garage, or attic. You and your family can decide when your capsule should be retrieved. Given a child's rate of development, even a few months may be long enough.

 

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