A time capsule is a collection of items that paint a picture of what things looked like in the past. It’s meant as a form of communication with the future and whoever digs up the capsule.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Time Capsule Ideas for a Baby or First Birthday
- Time Capsule Ideas for Kids or Students
- Time Capsule Ideas for Families
- Time Capsule Ideas for Couples or Anniversaries
- Time Capsule Ideas for Seniors
This might be the future you or a random stranger. Creating a time capsule is a fun and creative activity, leaving a snapshot in time to discover later on. Here are 38 ideas for items you can put into your time capsule.
Tip: You'll need to make your time capsule container first! Read our article on how to make a time capsule container for ideas and instructions.
Time Capsule Ideas for a Baby or First Birthday
A time capsule is a great way to remember your baby’s first year. It will be such an amazing gift for your child to get to dig this capsule up in their future.
Here are some ideas for what you can put inside a time capsule:
- Newspaper from the day they were born
- First rattle or spoon
- A favorite outfit
- A letter to the baby
- Recorded baby coos and giggles
- A birth announcement and birthday party invitation
- A hand and footprint
1. Newspaper from the day they were born
Putting in a newspaper from the day your baby was born is a great way to remember the day. You’ll be able to see what a newspaper looked like that year, and all the current events going on that day.
2. First rattle or spoon
Or any baby keepsake will do! This is a fun way for the future version of your child (or whoever finds the capsule) to see what kind of items babies used in the past. It’s also a heartwarming memory for your family.
3. A favorite outfit
It is so fascinating to see what babies wear throughout time. The styles change so much. Put a favorite outfit in, and if you dig up the capsule someday, you’re sure to feel sentimental and maybe even have a good laugh.
Pictures really pull together any time capsule. Make sure to include adorable baby pictures and a family photo or two.
5. A letter to the baby
It’s a really nice idea for parents and other family members to write a letter to the baby or to the future version of their child. This will be a lovely keepsake for your little one to find someday. You can find beautiful stationery paper without breaking the budget on Amazon.
6. Recorded baby coos and giggles
Get a tiny recorder and record those adorable baby coos and giggles. This is guaranteed to be a delight for the person who ultimately digs up the capsule.
7. A birth announcement and birthday party invitation
A birth announcement and a birthday party invitation is a perfect item for the baby’s time capsule. It will show the baby’s birth date and time, length, weight, and likely the address of the home you lived in when your baby was born.
This could also show someone from the future what your tradition of celebrating birthdays was like.
8. A hand and footprint
Complete the time capsule with an adorable hand and footprint! There’s nothing cuter than teeny little hands and feet. If you haven't made one already, you can get a baby handprint and footprint kit on Amazon. Your future kiddo won’t believe how small they once were!
Time Capsule Ideas for Kids or Students
Creating a time capsule can be such an exciting and fun project for kids and students. You can choose to bury the capsule for your future self or for a future stranger to stumble upon someday.
Here are some ideas of what you can include in a time capsule for kids and students.
- Certificates or ribbons
- A letter from your parents
- The packaging from your favorite snack
- A toy or stuffed animal
- Art projects
- A keepsake from your last birthday party
- An all-about-me page
- A letter to your future self
9. Certificates or ribbons
You should be proud of your accomplishments in school and activities. Put any certificates, ribbons, trophies, or even a report card you’re proud of into your capsule.
10. A letter from your parents
Have your parents write a letter to the future you and put it in the capsule. It will be so fun to read your parents’ hopes and dreams for you when you’re all grown up!
11. The packaging from your favorite snack
When you’re an adult, your favorite snack might not exist anymore. I know that’s scary to think about — but don’t worry, your tastes will change too.
When you finally open up your time capsule, all of your memories of that favorite snack will flash back.
12. A toy or stuffed animal
You’ll want to keep your absolute favorite toy and stuffed animal safe with you, so choose one you don’t play with so much anymore. Make sure to leave a description of the toy or stuffed animal and include its name if it has one.
13. Art projects
Include one of your beautiful art projects (or a photocopy) in your time capsule. You could also gather your art supplies or pick up an art kit from Amazon and make a special piece for the time capsule. You can even include a poem, essay you wrote, or a science project as well.
14. A keepsake from your last birthday party
Have an extra party favor or leftover decorations? Into the time capsule they go! This is a great way to remember how you celebrated your birthdays when you open up the capsule in the future.
If you're looking for ideas, read our guide on birthday keepsakes for more inspiration.
15. An all-about-me page
Start with a blank sheet of paper and be creative! Decorate this page with your age, height, weight, hair color, eye color, and all of your favorite things.
Your hair color might change in the future — you never know! Illustrate the page and make it colorful.
16. A letter to your future self
What are your hopes and dreams for your future? What do you want to be when you grow up? Tell the adult version of yourself everything you want them to know about your life right now.
Time Capsule Ideas for Families
A great time to create a family time capsule is when you’re moving into or out of a new house. This could be fun for a new family to find in many years, or for your family to come back to and revisit.
Here are some ideas for what your family can use to fill up your capsule:
- A family tree
- Family photos
- A list of demographics
- An artifact from your neighbor
- A list of prices
- Old cell phones
- A family questionnaire
- A family heirloom
17. A family tree
A family tree will be so fun for your family, future relatives, or even strangers to find. This is the history of your family. It’s also a fun project to do some research on your lineage and pull everything together. You can draw one, print it out, or use photos to bring the tree to life.
18. Family photos
A time capsule wouldn’t be complete without a picture or two of your family. Family photos put faces to the names of anyone that finds your capsule.
If it’s you opening the capsule in the future, it will be fun to see what you all looked like, and what pictures you chose to represent your family.
19. A list of demographics
Make a fact sheet with all of your family’s demographics. Mark down the date, then list everyone’s names, ages, height, and more.
20. An artifact from your neighborhood
Find a few things around your neighborhood that you think are good representations of your community. It could be a takeout menu from the best restaurant in town, city plans from town hall, or a current picture of the main street or a welcome sign.
21. A list of prices
Write up a list of prices of items that your family uses regularly. If your time capsule is opened decades later, these prices are likely to have changed and will be an interesting find.
22. Old cell phones
This is a fun one! Collect everyone’s old cell phones to put in the capsule. It will be amazing to see the advancement in technology over the years and what different members of the family used at different times.
If someone finds your family capsule in the distant future, they’re likely to be astonished to have unearthed such a relic.
23. A family questionnaire
Write a list of questions for everyone in the family to answer. It would be fun for everyone to do this in their own (hopefully legible) handwriting.
You can ask questions like where each family member sees themselves in 5, 10, or 20 years. You can ask about favorite songs, movies, and food.
24. A family heirloom
This could be jewelry, a piece of china, documentation, or even a recipe. If you don’t feel comfortable putting an actual family heirloom in the capsule, you can always take a picture of one to include.
Tip: A memorial diamond made from ashes can be a unique heirloom to keep someone's legacy alive for future generations. Some companies, like Eterneva, create lab-grown diamonds and allow you to pick from several cuts and colors for your gemstone.
Time Capsule Ideas for Couples or Anniversaries
A wonderful way to celebrate an anniversary is to create a couple’s time capsule. Here’s a list of ideas for things you can include to preserve your love in a time capsule:
- Pictures of you two
- Love letters to each other
- The story of your love
- Your bucket list
- Anniversary or wedding cards from friends and family
- Your favorite bottle of wine and champagne
- A dried flower from your wedding or first date
- A piece of your wedding attire
25. Pictures of you two
Your time capsule absolutely needs pictures of the happy couple! Be sure to also include snapshots of you with your most beloved family and friends.
You can also include videos. Copies of wedding videos make for amazing discoveries down the road.
26. Love letters to each other
How beautiful would it be to uncover old love letters when you finally open up your capsule? If a future stranger is finding your capsule, it will be such a treat to get to read love letters. So romantic!
27. The story of your love
No time capsule is complete without its story. Make sure to include the date you seal the capsule, along with a history of your life as a couple up to this point.
28. Your bucket list
Be creative with this one! What do you want to do together before you die?
Think about where you want to travel, dates you want to have, and the activities and adventures you want to experience together. You can even put dream homes and how many kids you’re envisioning on your list.
Post-loss tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, the emotional and technical aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
29. Anniversary or wedding cards from friends and family
Pack some cards from friends and family into your time capsule so you can remember all the support you had. It will also be fun to see the style of cards from the year of your anniversary or wedding. You could also include an invitation to your anniversary party or wedding.
30. Your favorite bottle of wine or champagne
If the time capsule is big enough, include your favorite bottle of wine or champagne. These make for great keepsakes.
Make sure to empty it out (or drink it) first, so it’s not rancid when the time capsule is opened. Who knows if that brand will even exist anymore when your capsule is discovered?
31. A dried flower from your wedding or first date
This is such a sentimental and beautiful item to store in your capsule. A flower from any bouquet you’ve shared together will work perfectly. Or you can pick a flower from your backyard if you have a garden and dry it or put it in a flower and leaf press.
32. A piece of your wedding attire
Whether it’s a piece of your wedding dress or a tie, include something you wore on your wedding day. This will be sentimental for you in the future, and if someone else is opening your capsule, it will be interesting for them to see the style of your wedding.
Tip: If you're interested in something very unique to incorporate the legacy of a loved one (think a game, their motorcycle, or instrument of choice), you can custom order an urn from a store like Foreverence. You submit a design idea or sketch, then the company designs and 3D prints your urn, so you get a 100% unique container.
Time Capsule Ideas for Seniors
Graduating high school is a wonderful accomplishment and a major life transition. Congratulations! You are heading into adult life, and there are so many memories to maintain from your childhood. Think about what you would like to see in 10, 20, or 50 years. If someone else finds the capsule, what would you want them to know about you and your hometown?
Here are some ideas for what you include in a time capsule for a high school senior:
- Graduation cap, cords, or tassels
- Your yearbook
- College acceptance letters
- A description of your hometown with pictures
- Pictures of you with friends and family
- A page from your journal or diary
33. Graduation cap, cords, or tassels
Your cap, cords, and tassels are quintessential graduation keepsakes. These make for great additions to your time capsule.
Maybe in the future caps and gowns will be a thing of the past. If so, it will be so cool to get a glimpse into past traditions.
34. Your yearbook
There are a few times in your life when you’re likely to pull out the old yearbook and have a look. Get a copy for your time capsule, and this is sure to be one of your favorite treasures. If a future stranger finds your capsule instead, a yearbook is an incredible artifact.
35. College acceptance letters
If you’re headed to college, another congratulations is in order! Getting into college is a major accomplishment. Preserve this special achievement by including acceptance letters in your time capsule.
36. A description of your hometown with pictures
Write up a one-page description of your house, school, and town. Make sure to include some pictures to show what everyone and everything looked like in your graduation year.
37. Pictures of you with friends and family
You’ll want to remember what you looked like now and who you felt close to. As they say, pictures are worth a thousand words.
38. A page from your journal or diary
This will be so much fun to read in your future! If someone else uncovers your capsule, what an amazing find to discover your most inner thoughts and desires.
Time Capsule Storage Tips
Now that you’ve completed your time capsule, you’re probably wondering what you should do with it. You have options — both indoors and outdoors.
If you are planning to bury your time capsule, make sure you only bury it a foot or less underground. Make sure that everything is preserved in proper materials or they will be completely ruined over the years. Definitely do some research! Also, make sure to mark the burial spot or create a map so it can be found in the future.
You can seal your time capsule and then store it somewhere inside. You could hide it somewhere or you can display it prominently. These make a great talking piece — just don’t peek inside!
One last tip: Don’t put anything perishable in your time capsule. It can degrade the rest of your items, and nobody wants to find a moldy sandwich!