April is nearly over, but our celebration of National Card and Letter Writing month is still going strong. This week, why not help your children write time capsule letters? Then, let them enjoy the fun of hiding their time capsule in your yard or neighborhood!
A time capsule is like buried treasure for someone in the future. Imagine that 200 years from now an archaeologist is digging through the ruins of your neighborhood. The items and letters in your time capsule will give him valuable clues about what life was like in the twenty-first century.
Items for Your Time Capsule
Enthusiastic children may want the choice to make their own time capsules. But if your family decides to work together on one time capsule, each child should still write his own letter.
First, find a strong, sealed container for each time capsule. A coffee can or cookie tin would be an excellent choice. Next, gather items to fill the container, such as:
- Family photo
- Favorite recipe
- Handmade item crafted by the child, friend, or relative
- Favorite poem (do you have an extra copy from Poem in Your Pocket Day?)
- Business cards from local restaurants, stores, dentists, doctors, etc.
- Ticket stubs from an amusement park, movie, concert, or play
- Cover of a current magazine showing political, social, sports, or health news OR entertainment, fashion, or decorating trends
Write Your Time Capsule Letter
A time capsule letter should highlight the habits and language of everyday life. What vocabulary words have your children learned lately? Ask them to use these in their letters.
What would your child want a new friend to know about your house, family, weekend activities, and schooldays? A few topics should be more than enough for a three-paragraph letter.
If your child experiences writer’s block, use the items in the time capsule to prompt paragraph topics:
1. Write about photography. Describe the camera, phone, or tablet your family uses to take pictures. Do you print photos at home or at a store? Does your family Christmas picture go in a frame or photo album? Do you share it with friends through email, social networks, or Christmas cards?
2. Write about food. Describe a new food that each member of your family has tried in last year. Did they like it or not? What is your funniest memory at the dinner table? What is your favorite memory in the kitchen?
3. Write about do-it-yourself projects. What have Mom and Dad been doing around the house, yard, or garage lately? What is your favorite thing to make? (A tower made of Legos? An original song for your instrument? A bike ramp? A pencil drawing?)
4. Write about transportation. How does your family get around town? How do your parents pay for services when they run errands (cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards, gift cards)?
Ending the Time Capsule Letters
Finally, ask your children to end their time capsule letters by answering two very important questions. Someday, their own children or grandchildren may be the “archaeologists” who open the time capsule. The answers to these questions will be treasured for years to come.
What is one thing you wish you had known or understood five years ago?
What is one thing you hope to learn about, discover, or experience in the next five years?
Now that your time capsule is finished, hide or bury it for someone to find in the future. You might:
- Tuck it away in a corner of your basement or attic
- Bury it between the shrubs in your backyard planter
- Place it high in the rafters of your garage
What did your children write about in their time capsule letters? Leave a comment to share your time capsule adventure!
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.
Photo: Erik Hersman, courtesy of Creative Commons.