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Bottling the Sands of Time – Making Time Capsules For Your Children

I’m not sure about you, but I am a very romantic person. I like obsessing over the little details, things that make a moment human, more tangible, more tactile. I have a box of love letters that my husband wrote to me before we were married, and a few pictures. We have been married for almost 20 years (19 this year), so this was before internet, before emails, when hand writing mattered, when you would still write actual letters. This was before digital pictures, before you could take 100 pictures in one day on your phone, yet most people print none…most people do not make albums, and then some people are the ultimate scrapbookers. I do not scrapbook, but something I am proud of are the “time capsules” I am making for my toddler boys for them to look at and keep when they become adults.

I call them “time capsules”, but they are actually giant Tupperware containers I got from Home Depot. I am hoping that when I go back to work and we have some extra money to be frivolous to one day get them really nice wooden or metal storage trunk. I think when you think of a time capsule, you think of things from a certain moment in time. My time capsules I am trying to capture multiple moments from their whole childhood. If you are interested or curious, here is a list of things that I have amassed so far for them to wax nostalgic;


Time Capsule Items

  • The basic baby book, which is in itself a great little time capsule of their first year of life.
  • I contacted our local newspaper to order a copy of the newspaper publication that was printed the day they were born.
  • Coins from the year they were born from Royal Canadian Mint, with a penny thrown in for good measure. If you can afford it and want to, paper money also (we didn’t).
  • Magazines from the month they were born. I got a Rollingstone, Mad, Time, Archie Comic and others, but up to you.
  • A CD from the year they were born.
  • The McDonalds toy being sold when they were born.
  • First stuffie toy, outfit, shoes, bathing suit, jacket, favourite first book.
  • After the 1sts, I have started keeping their birthday outfits they wore on each birthday.
  • Some of their artwork, playdoh sculptures, some of their crafts. This is where it becomes easy to hoard. Some people take pictures of all their kids’ artwork, but I have tried to keep a couple of their masterpieces for each year of age. This comes back to me wanting to make a touchable, tangible keepsake for them.
  • Nature stuff that brings back good memories, like if they have gifted me a rock or a leaf, a flower that can be pressed.
  • If we have had a special day, or gone to a special place – like the Railway Museum – keeping the ticket stub, subway token, or what have you.
  • Whenever I have made a photo album – which is not often – I make them a copy.
  • Every birthday, ask them similar questions to see how their answers have changed over time.
  • Keep a little box or book where you can write funny or cute things they have said or done. I have a box right now because I will write it on a sticky and put it in the box. Eventually, I will copy into a book.

This list is just a “so far” of what I have started. As our technologies advance, many of these things will become obsolete, and new things to collect will be desired, such as holographic 3D messages. I would also like to add a “Mother’s Book” and “Father’s Book” that I have seen being sold, to share with them of who their parents are (or were) in our own words. Maybe I should even write them each a letter, and ask for letters from their loved ones. I would like to make them copies of the videos we have taken, ideally edited, but in any form really so they will have them.

In one of my favorite book, Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks the White Rabbit, “How long is forever?” The White Rabbit says, “Sometimes, just one second.” I feel this sometimes as I go through life. My hope with making time capsules for my children is that I can capture those forever moments, for them to “visit”, and look at, and hold, and know they were so loved.

Anna Marie Chemi is a stay at home mom who never wants to grow up, with 2 sweet boys.