Ideas for Homemade Time Capsules for Baby’s First Birthday

May 22nd, 2011 by Dionna | 1 Comment
Posted in Eclectic Learning, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, My Family

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Before Kieran’s first birthday, Tom and I were intent on creating a time capsule for Kieran to open when he came of age. We finally kicked it into high gear sometime after Kieran turned two years old.1 Because it took us some time to come up with decent ideas for a time capsule, I gathered the best of the best together to help the next parent.2 Enjoy, and please add your own ideas in the comments!


Items to Include

In compiling items for the capsule, we wanted a mixture of sentimental, historical, and fun.


  • Personal Letters: Solicit letters from family and close friends. You can suggest that they share a memory or two of their time with your child so far, their visions/hopes for his/her future, a few fun predictions, etc.
  • Copy of your family tree.
  • Birth: Your birth story, baby’s first hat/booties, a copy of baby’s first footprints, etc.
  • Photographs: Include copies of special pictures from baby’s first year (pictures with family, especially older family members, pictures with baby “playmates,” etc.).
  • Personal Recordings: Like letters, but with sound and/or image. Grab a video camera or tape recorder and ask family members to record something for the future.
  • Memories of Baby: Did you have a special bedtime book or blanket? A coming home outfit or a baby bracelet? Find something that you won’t want to grab later (for graduation maybe) and store it gently.


  • Elections/Politics: Kieran’s first year included Obama’s election, and as Obama volunteers we have plenty of memorabilia. I am proud beyond words that pieces of President Obama’s campaign will be in the time capsule. Even if your baby isn’t born during a presidential election year, that’s no reason you can’t get out (to vote!) and find memorabilia from other local or state elections. Also think about campaign flyers/videos, magazines (Time usually has something good), bumper stickers, key chains, etc.
  • Sports: 2008 brought KU its 3rd Men’s Basketball National Championship. In honor of Kieran’s Kansas heritage (both Tom and I were born and raised there), we got the Sports Illustrated from April 2008. The cover of the SI is the now famous “Mario’s Miracle” image. You could include anything that strikes your fancy. Other sports items to consider: a magazine’s “year in review” issue, ticket stubs from your child’s first game, a bobble head of a popular player, a sports schedule from your hometown team, an autographed picture, unopened packs of trading cards, etc.
  • Music: Burn a CD of songs that were popular in the first year of your child’s life. Be sure to include songs from every genre – you never know what she will connect to twenty years from now. We are also making our CD sentimental by including songs that are special to us as  parents.
  • Money: Include a few low value bills and a variety of coins from the year your child was born.


  • Internet Fads: Google “internet fads” with the year of your baby’s birth and you will find plenty of sites dedicated to gathering everything that went viral. I’m thinking of phenomenons like “Charlie bit my finger,” the “Star Wars Kid,” or “The Landlord” (NSFW!).
  • Pop Culture Fads: Leggings, big sunglasses, silly hats, chunky bracelets, strange stuffed animals, popular toys – there are funny fads every year, find one that’s small enough to fit in your container and include a picture or two of family members (or celebrities) flaunting the fad.
  • Popular Products: It’s not the best idea to include food or drink in your time capsule, but you could include pictures of or (clean) packaging from your favorite treats. Make a list of things you use regularly with their current prices.
Enclosing and Protecting Your Time Capsule

The advice on how to store time capsules is fairly universal: don’t bury it. Keep it inside in something bug/waterproof. We decided on a small popcorn tin sealed with packing tape. Your container choice will depend largely on how much you’re putting in it and how long you want to store it. We want ours to last until Kieran’s 21st birthday, so it needs to be pretty solid. If we were only saving it five years, a Rubbermaid container in a bug-free area of your house might work.

Store all paper items in their own individual 100% polyethylene bags, place coins and computer equipment in something to keep them safe. The Minnesota Historical Society has made this PDF available, it has the down and dirty on keeping your things nice and clean over the years.

Have Fun!

No matter when you decide to open it and what you include, the time capsule will be thrilling to open for everyone involved. Have fun with it!

Have you created a time capsule for your children? What did you include?

  1. Ok, I’ll be honest. I still have never finished the letter I intended to write, nor have I actually burned the CD of songs that I gathered together for him. So his time capsule is still incomplete. For shame!
  2. This post has been edited from the original version previously published at Be Present Mama – now Fingerpaints and Superheroes.

One Response to:
"Ideas for Homemade Time Capsules for Baby’s First Birthday"

  1. What a great idea! I never did a time capsule for any of my children, but I suppose I could still do one at a different age. How fun!

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