Making a time capsule
         By assembling personal mementoes, family members can act as cultural
anthropologists, preserving 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 place 
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 to Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson. Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use. There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication. To receive that permission, contact Jay Davidson