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A time capsule is not only a fun kids’ activity, it also teaches them anticipation, patience and community too. Here’s how to create your own at home.
When you’re young, time is elastic. Some days whizz by and others drag on. A time capsule is a wonderful way to teach kids about measurement, the calendar, their place in their family, community and beyond. It’s also a beautiful bonding experience you can all enjoy and something siblings can do together. Here, we walk you through how to make a kids’ time capsule, so little ones can get creating in just a few steps!
First think about how to store the capsule, and where. If they want to bury it outside, you will need a stainless steel container to protect the precious cargo. If they choose to tuck it away indoors, kids can use a cardboard box, decorating it with paint and markers, then wrapping it completely in clear contact to seal. That way there’s no peeking! Don’t forget to write the date that it was made and when it is scheduled to be opened!
Guide kids to start with a piece of paper or journal, listing all their current measurements including age, height, weight, how many teeth they’ve lost, what size shoe they wear and any other fun things they can record. As well as writing each down, challenge them to use items to represent each measurement, like coloured matchsticks for the number of teeth lost.
Then prompt them to choose some items for their time capsule. It could be a photo of them standing in height order with their siblings, or a recent birthday card. They may decide to measure their head with a piece of ribbon or string, trimming it at the length and sticking it into the journal. They could make hand and foot prints with paint and paper, as a fun sensory activity too. Having some items that they can measure against in years to come, as well as the written down stats, will really bring the time capsule to life.
Among the list of things to put in a time capsule, a nice idea is to celebrate where you live. Encourage children to take photos of their house and suburb. Have them collect a local paper, some community notices and maybe a postcard or two. Making their own frames within their journal will add texture and colour, like creating squares and rectangles out of washi tape and sticky gems.
For older kids, challenge them to research the coordinates of your home online so they can include them too! An instant camera is a great way for them to document their home and its surroundings.
Sometimes a time capsule is as simple as a message in a bottle! In 1971, a 14-year-old boy called Raymond Davidson, from the north of England, wrote a note, popped it in a bottle and sent it out to sea. Forty-four years later, an Aussie couple found this now-famous time capsule on a Scottish beach and managed to track down the man who had written it all those years ago!
Now kids can add in expressions of all their hobbies, favourite games and pastimes. If they love playing in the garden, have them collect leaves to trace them into their journal. They could even use air-drying clay to press some garden goodies into, making ornaments to include in the capsule.
If they are passionate about sports, they could create a guernsey out of cardboard or make a supporters flag out of crepe paper, paint and a long stick. Imagine pulling that out and unfurling it in a decade's time!
A fun way to make a kids’ time capsule super personal is to have them interview their friends for their journal, asking them the basics as well as how they met and how long they’ve known each other. Children can then list their favourite characteristics about their friends and create a popsicle stick person for each one, adding hair, outfits and lining them all up.
In 1974, an interstellar radio message was sent into space, carrying information about Earth. The message was aimed at a big collection of stars 25,000 light years away. It was called the Arecibo Message. So far, no word back from space!
Children love this one and most change their mind regularly, so it will be fun to look back on what they chose when their time capsule is due to be opened! Whatever profession or life path they pick, encourage kids to include drawings of what they will wear in the future, where they will live, what they will eat and who they will hang out with. They could even make cardboard roll houses and buildings to depict their future life.