Building great family time capsules

It's startling how quickly the years go by. Doesn't it seem like it's been about ten minutes since you were the age your children are now? Wouldn't it be great to go back and see yourself as a child, but through adult eyes?

Well, it's a little late for you to do that, but your kids can. All it takes is a time capsule. They're cheap, they're fun to make and they're even more fun to open. Everyone should contribute a few personal items, but make it a family event: Put something in that means something to the whole family, like a pet's collar and photograph.

How do we make one? It's easy. Get a fairly large, sturdy piece of Tupperware with a tight-fitting lid and a bunch of Ziploc bags for the individual items. The Tupperware should be about twice the size of a shoebox, or a little larger. If you like, you can get smaller pieces of Tupperware for each child, so they can have their own private time capsules inside the big one.

What do we put in it? This takes a little more thinking. Here are some tips:

  • Don't put anything in that you're going to need, want or miss in the next ten or twenty years.
  • Make it personal. The point is to remind you of the family when you open it, not geopolitical events that you'll be able to get out of a history book.
  • If you're putting in paper, make sure that it's acid-free -- or spray it with paper antacid (there really is such a thing, and you can get it at hobby stores).
  • Don't count on being able to use CDs, CD-ROMs, floppies, audio and videotape cassettes and the like when you open the capsule; standards for that kind of thing change quickly.
  • If you're going to use recordings, try to get them on as many different media as possible.
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