Time capsules are more than just a silly trend. They’re a reliable way to deliver the past into the future, completely intact and unblemished. While generational time capsules can stay buried for up to 50 or more years, you can set a shorter window for time capsules intended for when your baby comes of age. What kind of trinkets should you fill them with, though?
Fill your baby’s time capsule with tangible memorabilia like pictures, letters, and cards. Other fine tokens for this include locks of their hair, some art they did as a baby, their hospital ID bracelet, a mold of their handprints and footprints, and even the weather report on the day of their birth. Steer clear of perishables and anything that could introduce bacteria, moisture, or corrosive residue onto your memorabilia.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to time capsule contents, but we’ll provide a few choice starting picks on what’s worth preserving down below.
1. Baby’s Ultrasound(s)
The baby’s ultrasounds are key moments in the pregnancy. The first ultrasound is usually done in the first trimester to establish mommy’s expected due date. The second ultrasound is done a few months later, confirming how the baby’s coming along – their gender, growth, and development being chief discoveries at this stage.
Ultrasounds are the first glimpses parents have of their child. While it’s coming from a limited, filtered scan, what they hold in their hand is the first documented image of their baby in the world. It’s a very fitting inclusion in your child’s time capsule – it’s their first picture, after all!
2. Collected Congratulations
Collected congratulations help others express excitement and joy alongside the prospective parents. In time capsules intended for older kids, including these helps them understand just how much people looked forward to their arrival. It reminds them that they were very much loved and wanted, even when the world had yet to meet them.
While it’s far from the most exciting time capsule addition, it’s still a very heartfelt inclusion that’s 100% guaranteed to lift your kid’s mood years down the line. Bottle up some past positivity and rocket these beautiful sentiments into their future!
3. Pictures of Mom and Dad
Not everything in the baby’s time capsule needs to come from or correspond to the child. Kids don’t know a lot about their parents, and that blind spot is particularly huge when it comes to the time before they were born. It can be a novel experience for your child to have a glimpse at the world before they even came into it.
Pictures go a long way in filling that gap – date night shots, old wedding photos, and even baby pictures of both parents tell a story your child would definitely be interested in learning.
4. Personalized Letters From Family And Friends
It’s easy to mix this up with collected congratulations and well wishes, but personalized letters are more targeted. The people writing these have met the child – likely more than once – and want to convey specific experiences rather than just hopeful sentiments.
You can easily gather personalized letters when you’ll be burying the time capsule. In fact, we’ll even include a few guide questions for them to answer on that very day!
- What’s your favorite memory with our child?
- When did you first meet our baby? What did you think of them?
- They’ll be reading this when they hit (insert age here), is there anything you want to tell their future selves now?
It always feels nice to receive a personal letter – especially when they’re reminiscing on fond memories. Don’t forget to have the parents write their letters in too! They’re probably who the kid’s looking forward to hearing from the most.
5. Art They Did/Art You Did Together
A child’s art might not be fully appreciated early on, but parents will inevitably miss that stage once their kid outgrows it. We don’t know what we’ve got ‘till it’s gone, but you can stick a doodle or painting they did in the capsule to let your family experience reexperience that nostalgia once you dig the package back up.
Maybe your baby was an artistic prodigy, or maybe they couldn’t color between the lines no matter how much they tried early on. In either case, putting these in the time capsule gives you a nice, welcome reminder of how your baby used to be, along with a gentle reminder of how far they’ve come along.
You could also include craftworks you did as a family in the capsule! They’ll surely make for wonderful, shared memories for all of you to look back on.
6. Weather Report On Their Birthdate
Big days are worth remembering, even down to the smallest details. These innocuous little reminders can make all the difference in our recollection, especially when years have passed.
Most parents can remember the day their child was born in great specificity, and it’s worth including these small details just in case. Maybe your child wanted to know if it rained the day they were born – now you’ll have more than just memory at your disposal to answer that question.
7. Locks of Hair (Baby)
Your baby’s first haircut is a huge milestone in their lives, and what better keepsake can you take from that experience than a lock of their precious hair! While pictures and videos are fine, these types of mementos have a different feel that makes them far more special: they’re memories we can clasp in our hands, and the weight behind them will be both nostalgic and reassuring.
A lock of hair is also a very practical token: it’s small, easy to store, and long-lasting. They’re also far more presentable to others than alternatives like, say, baby teeth!
A person’s hair can change a lot over the years – even curling or straightening due to puberty hormones. Your child could have also simply dyed their hair between then and now.
A lock of hair makes for a nice, simple reminder of how they were when they were little, and it can be perfectly preserved in something as small as a Zip-Lock pouch.
8. Copy of Birth Certificate
A birth certificate is the first legal document to your child’s name, recognizing them as someone who belongs in the world. Birth certificates are staple additions to time capsules for kids.
Most parents have these copies of the certificate laminated before storage in the time capsule, and we’d recommend doing the same for ease of preservation.
Coins are awesome additions to time capsules. They readily indicate when the capsule was buried, and are much easier to preserve than paper banknotes. Coins are also generally more sterile, as banknotes could end up contaminated with dangerous microbes.
In fact, some metals (namely brass, copper, and silver) actually have self-sterilizing properties – this is significant, as the bulk of US currency has those three metals as part of their composition.
Some coins are more liable to tarnish than others, but it’s better to play it safe and take some general storage precautions. Store these in a cool, dry container with silica gel packets to prevent dampness and corrosion damage from accumulating. Use clean gloves when transferring items into the time capsule to minimize their exposure to the oil on your fingertips.
10. Birth Announcement
Every prospective family handles their birth announcement plans very uniquely, and how your family does this needs to be recorded.
While this was usually done through more formal means (like cards) in the past, most families nowadays commonly make their big announcements on social media!
These announcements are huge milestones, but when done online they run the risk of getting bogged down and buried as new posts begin to accumulate on their feed. We’ve all known the struggle of searching for an old tweet or post we made a couple of years back, and that problem will only get magnified by the huge time gap between burying and unearthing the time capsule.
Be sure to include a copy of their birth announcement in the time capsule, as it’s one of the easiest bits of your child’s history to lose track of. If your announcement has some memorabilia involved, be sure to reserve a copy for storage. If the announcement was made through more casual ways like Instagram, you can’t go wrong printing yourself a copy of the post in question. It belongs in the time capsule just as much as the letters, cards, and pictures do.
Lastly, not all birth announcements are joint affairs – the father and mother of the child can make their announcements independently of one another, and how they do that could differ quite a bit. For these instances, be sure to include a copy of both partners’ baby announcements inside the time capsule.
11. Hospital ID Bracelets (Mommy and Baby)
A mother and her child share an unbreakable bond, and few things embody this quite as well as the matching hospital ID bracelets they’re given.
These bracelets do serve a practical purpose in identifying the pair’s connection, but there’s an underlying beauty in what they represent. The paired bracelets that establish this bond between mother and child are given after birth, actually preceding the child’s naming.
It’s the first tangible link between mother and child and is sorely underrated as timeless keepsakes. They’re also remarkably easy to preserve as the plastic is very resistant to decomposition and moisture damage. These little plastic cuffs are one of the most important bits of your family’s shared history, and proper storage can ensure that they stay pristine for decades!
12. Handprint and Footprint Molds (Baby)
Your little one won’t be little forever, and a plaster mold is a handy way to effectively preserve that early point in their lives. Keepsake kits are pretty easy to get ahold of on Amazon to boot!
While you might be tempted to make your own DIY keepsake kit at home, we wouldn’t recommend doing so. A lot of mix recipes for ad-hoc mold material don’t hold up well in the long run, with issues like cracking or moisture seep liable to develop in your mold at any point.
The model is meant to be preserved for over a decade, and the last thing you want to unveil while digging out your kid’s time capsule is a cheap, cracked disappointment.
Go with a professional kit instead – you should never skimp out when memories are at stake! The Co Little Baby Handprint and Footprint Kit make for a solid pick for lasting memories. Their kit comes with non-toxic clay, a free set of alphabet stamps, and a lifetime warranty!
Who knows? Their plaster cast might even make it down a generation to your grandkids! Being able to keep memories like that pristine is well worth a modest splurge.
What NOT to Put
The banes of any time capsule are moisture, bacteria, and unwanted residues.
The most common source of both bacteria and moisture is food. Avoid the temptation and steer clear of leaving treats in the time capsule. While some select food products like MREs or hard candy can actually stay edible for decades, we’d still generally advise against taking the risk.
Cheap steel and rubber won’t seem problematic in the short term, but both of these are liable to develop rust or residues that could stain the other contents of the time capsule.
Instead, you can buffer the contents of your capsule with paper – more specifically, acid-free archival tissue paper. This material is used to preserve century-old museum documents, and does so spectacularly.
Time capsules let you send bits of your past into the future, so fill it to the brim with precious pictures, letters, and other wonderful keepsakes of your child’s babyhood. The future is uncertain and honestly a tad scary, but a few sources of warm nostalgia can go a long way towards comforting your family for the years to come.