Summer Activity: A Time Capsule for Kids

time capsule project with student

There’s nothing like a time capsule(opens in a new tab) to boost a kid’s curiosity. Time capsule projects for kids demonstrate the importance of memories, inspire creativity, teach lessons on time, and help students look forward to the future. Building a summer time capsule for online students can be an especially creative way to avoid the summer slide and keep your student’s mind engaged throughout the summer.   

But if you want a time capsule to have a real impact on your child, create one that makes your student look inward. Time capsules for children should still be about having fun, but they should also prompt such questions as: 

“What do I want to be when I grow up?” 

“What will the future be like?” 

“What will it feel like to be older?” 

“Summer Slide”  Activities in a Shoebox

To get your child to ask questions about their future, try our time capsule for kids activity explained in the Instructographic below. It’s a perfect way to tie up summer vacation and prepare for the first day of school. But creating a time capsule can be a rewarding activity at any time over the summer if it gets your child(ren) thinking about their life so far and what it may hold in the years ahead. 

Creating a time capsule is a summer activity with a two-fold benefit: it can help kids keep their brains stimulated and avoid summer learning loss, or “summer slide,” and as they think about their hopes and dreams for the future, it’s an exercise in social-emotional learning. 

Summer slide activities can range from months-long programs to one-off activities, like our time capsule for kids. You just need to involve your child in a sustained activity that focuses on their interests and exercises their evolving skills and abilities. A social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, like the one Connections Academy® follows, teaches kids self-awareness, empathy for others, and skills like managing their emotions and resolving conflicts in the context of social interactions. School programs with SEL components have been shown to improve academic and behavioral outcomes(opens in a new tab) for students. 

Gather or Create What Goes in a Time Capsule for Kids

A time capsule is simply a shoebox or other sturdy container filled with a collection of objects gathered to preserve memories. Your child may have a possession or two of their own ready to go into a time capsule (double-check to make sure they’re ready to part with it) or you can make some. A time capsule for kids might also contain: 

  • Photos 
  • Drawings 
  • Crafts 
  • Newspaper and magazine clippings (or printed screengrabs) 
  • Your child’s written list of goals or thoughts about their future  Photos 
  • Drawings 
  • Crafts 

And, while we think of time capsules from bygone eras buried under memorials or in building foundations, a time capsule box for kids just needs to be set aside out of daily view with a reminder somewhere to pull it out and open it someday. 

Our time capsule for kids summer activity envisions a simple box of photos and keepsakes to be tucked away for a year to illustrate how your children change from one school year to the next. But longer-term, a time capsule box for kids can store artifacts of precious memories with hopes for the future to be rediscovered in delight someday and viewed through older eyes.  

Click through to view our full Instructographic about creating a time capsule for kids this summer.  

Protecting Time Capsules for Children 

When your time capsule is finished, you need to put it away somewhere safe and out of mind. This may be under your bed, in a closet, in the attic, or just for fun, underground. Here are some tips to help you protect your time capsule: 

  • If you don’t have a shoebox, find another unused container. It could be a cereal box, shipping box, a plastic box, a large envelope, a large jar or bottle, or any similar item you may have. 
  • If you’ve used a cardboard box, wrap it with newspaper or wrapping paper and tape. This will make it more sturdy and secure and deter early peeking. 
  • Put the box in a garbage bag to protect it from dust, dirt, and moisture. Label it with masking tape and a marker so no one mistakes it for garbage. 
  • Hide the box from curious children—or pets! 
  • Write down a reminder naming the location of the time capsule and the day it should be opened. If you have a calendar for next year already, mark the date on it. 
  • To hide your time capsule outdoors, you’ll need a container that’s waterproof and airtight. Try a plastic storage container or large glass jar with a lid. 
  • Time capsules hidden outdoors are safest when they’re buried. Just make sure you approve the spot before your child starts digging.  If you don’t have a shoebox, find another unused container. It could be a cereal box, shipping box, a plastic box, a large envelope, a large jar or bottle, or any similar item you may have. 
  • If you’ve used a cardboard box, wrap it with newspaper or wrapping paper and tape. This will make it more sturdy and secure and deter early peeking. 
  • Put the box in a garbage bag to protect it from dust, dirt, and moisture. Label it with masking tape and a marker so no one mistakes it for garbage. 
  • Hide the box from curious children -- or pets! 
  • Write down a reminder naming the location of the time capsule and the day it should be opened. If you have a calendar for next year already, mark the date on it. 

Looking for more ways to keep your kids active this summer? Check out these fun outdoor PE activities that will get your kids moving! 

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