Time Capsules and Treasure Boxes

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When my brother and I were kids we spent a lot of time digging in the back yard. One of our favorite fantasies was that we would find some long ago buried treasure box or time capsule. We found many treasures: long discarded toys, old coins, and the occasional fossil, but we never found that elusive treasure box.

Digging for treasure

Treasure Boxes and Time Capsules

Fast forward to adulthood where we now have the power to create treasure boxes and time capsules with our kids. We don’t bury them in the backyard, we store them carefully in a closet to be rediscovered at some future date. My sister-in-law’s family has a tradition of having a baby naming party to celebrate the latest baby in the family. At the party, people who are close to the family bring something special for the new baby to put in a treasure box, to be opened when the baby turns 13. For one niece, I gave a pin that had belonged to her great-grandmother and another niece received a treasure candle filled with 13 treasures. It was so lovely watching my nieces open their treasure boxes this past year when we celebrated their 13th birthdays. It was a box full of memories and love that I am sure they will treasure forever.

Time Capsule Treasures

A beautiful reminder of fun times and past accomplishments

In the spirit of storing treasured memories, I like to make Time Capsules with the kids with whom we work. It is so easy to forget all those small moments that dance by as we go through our days. The Time Capsules are a wonderful way to remind the child of what they have accomplished and what fun they have exploring and learning. It’s amazing how thrilled kids get when they look through their capsules years later.

There are many ways to make a time capsule project for kids. In the spirit of re-use and recycle we used plastic bottles but you can use any container.

Materials for your Time Capsule project:

  • 2 large plastic bottles
  • Scissors
  • Duck Tape
  • Permanent Markers
  • Treasures and notes

Instructions for your Time Capsule project:

Time Capsule Instructions

  1. Wash out the bottles and cut off the top.
  2. Cover the cut edges with the tape. Time Capsule Instruction
  3. Have the children choose what treasures they want to put in the time capsules. Our Time Capsules have the theme “Summer Fun” so we put in projects, pictures, and treasures from this summer.
  4. It is nice to sneak in a note from you for them to open and read in the future.
  5. Decorate the bottle with the permanent markers. If you are doing multiple Time Capsules for multiple children or you plan to do this again in the future, be sure to label the Time Capsules with the child’s name and the date.
  6. Tape the two bottle pieces together and store for a future date.

What would you put in your Time Capsule?

If you are looking for more fabulous activities for kids check out

Learn with Play: 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning

Learn With Play: 150+ Ideas for Year-round Fun & Learning

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Time Capsule


  1. What a precious idea, for the kids to open on their 13th birthdays!
    I hope I can remember to do this for my grandbaby. She’s already 2, I better hurry! I will put in pix she has drawn, foot and hand prints.
    Here from HomeMatters.


    1. What a sweet treasure box that would be. I bet your grandbaby will love it. I would have loved it if my Grandma had made me a time capsule or treasure box.


  2. I think this is brilliant! Though now I’m tempted to look for buried treasure and bury my time capsule despite your recommendation to store it on a shelf. Will definitely be doing this with my kids 🙂


    1. You are a true adventurer! Burying the time capsule is a lot of fun but I treasure the look on the kids faces when they rediscover their time capsule memories.


  3. I really enjoy the idea of this. Really has me thinking what would I try to pack in mine… I guess if I go by what I would like finding, maybe some money! A letter about what prices of things are like gas and bread. Might have the boys do this yet this year!


    1. I like the idea of writing the prices of things. My siblings and I fought over my grandmother’s old grocery advertisement from the 1930’s.


  4. What a great way to end the summer! I think that is so cool you found fossils in your childhood backyard.


    1. It was very cool to find fossils. We found trilobites and petrified wood.


  5. This is so fun! I buried a time capsule when I was a kid but we were never able to find it years later. Maybe someone will find it one day. Haha! This is such a fun idea to do with the kids!


    1. Wouldn’t that be fun if someone found it?


    1. Thanks for reading, Alyssa!


  6. What an absolutely incredible idea! I think I am going to make one of these for my little boy! You are right, time goes by so fast. By capturing small moments and trinkets in time, we can share with them their growth and all the love that has surrounded them.


    1. What will you put in your time capsule?


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