By assembling personal mementoes, family members can act as cultural
artifacts for “discovery” during a later time.
Putting together a time capsule for each of your children can also further
their understanding of history
and writing. Most time capsules are buried, which
means that consideration
needs to be paid to deterioration of items placed in
the ground. This project
needn’t necessarily take that approach.
Your child’s time capsule can be placed in a sealed box and put away in
a closet or other out-of-the-way
place. Limit the items by defining the container
in which they will be placed.
You probably have a shoe box around; if not, save
one from the next pair of
shoes you buy.
Help your child to decide what the contents of the time capsule will
define: a year in his life,
a summer of activities, a family trip, etc. You may have
lots of souvenirs of this
summer vacation, so that is a fine place to start. Then you
can go ahead and help to
gather the items that have significance for the time
period you have chosen.
Here is a list to use as a jumping-off point for the items you may
into the box: photos, post
cards, maps, journal, newspaper, magazine articles,
pictures of heroes and heroines,
video, toys, collection cards (baseball,
Pokemon), coins or bills
from foreign travel, letters from family members, birthday
cards, school creative writing
or research assignment, report card, a favorite
book, an article of clothing.
Children who are not able to write on their own can dictate stories to
older children or adults
who, in turn, can write them out by hand or on a
computer. A family time
capsule can include something written by each
member of the family.
Make an agreement among yourselves as to when the capsule will be
opened and viewed by the
family members. You may even decide that this is a
project that can be assembled
annually. Perhaps the 1999 time capsule can be
opened in 2009, the 2000
time capsule opened in 2010, and so on.
This column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s Advice