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Annual Family Mini Time Capsule (activity to memorialize the past year) by Brenda Ponnay for Alphamom.com

Annual Family Time Capsule (memorialize the past year)

By Brenda Ponnay

As you’re taking down your holiday decorations, boxing up tax papers and and putting up fresh new calendars for the new year, now is a great time to make a Family Time Capsule with the whole family! Everyone can participate and it’s something you’ll treasure more and more as the years go by. They are easy-to-make, easy-to-store and there is no time like the present to start one!

Annual Family Mini Time Capsule (photos from the past year)

Supplies you will need:

  • small metal container (Altoid tins work great!)
  • spray paint
  • 2×3 inch photos
  • small 1-2 inch mementos
  • small strips of paper
  • number stickers


Three mini tins stacked on top of each other How to make your Family Mini Time Capsule:

1) First prepare your time capsule container.

If you’re using an Altoid tin, give it a quick dusting of spray paint (use outside in a well-ventilated area) to cover the branding and create a clean slate. Decorate your tin with number stickers showing the year or just draw on the year with a permanent marker if you don’t have any number stickers.

2) Once your time capsule tin is dry, it’s time to fill it!

Annual Family Mini Time Capsule (ephemera the past year)

Ask your family to bring one or two small items that they think represents memories from the past year. This could be concert tickets, small toys, stickers, pebbles and shells from a vacation, a stamp, tiny souvenirs etc etc. Personally, I seem to collect a menagerie of small trinkets on my desk over the course of a year; so sweeping this ephemera into a time capsule is a perfect way to do some new year tidying for me.


Young girl writing messages from the past year on a piece of paper 3) Ask your family to each write a sentence about their favorite memory of the year.

This also could include trends they liked, new words or slang that became popular or even political rants. Then roll the small strip of paper into a tiny roll and seal it with a sticker or small piece of tape.

While you’re writing down your memories it’s also a good time to make notes on the backs of your photos. You might think you’ll never forget a name or a place now but as the years go by you’ll be very happy for your labeling (not to mention your relatives who will look at these photos long after you are gone). Trust me, I’ve gone through stacks and stacks of old photos and wished I had been so prudent.


memorial items inside of mini time capsule 4) Now fill your tin with your pictures, trinkets and memories.

Make sure everything is nice and secure and you can close the lid without damaging anything inside.  You can even put a special picture on the lid and decorate it with stickers. Then close your box and keep it safe somewhere so you can open it up and look at it next year and for years to come.

If you really want to make it a long-term time capsule, glue the lid shut with some hot glue to make it waterproof and bury it in the backyard. (Just don’t forget where you left it!)

Discover More Fun for the New Year:

About the Author

Brenda Ponnay

Brenda Ponnay is an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of card...

Brenda Ponnay is an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of cardboard boxes or just doing the laundry with flair, Brenda Ponnay has learned that what really makes her happy is being creative every single day.

You can read about all her crazy adventures on her personal blog: Secret Agent Josephine.

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