Jul 252012

First Birthday CakeAs mentioned in an earlier post, I spent a lot of time planning how to commemorate my little Monkey’s first birthday.  I wanted to make it memorable for him not just in the present moment (which he would soon forget) but also in the future.

Perhaps because of my love for history, as a child I was fascinated by time capsules.  I clearly remember when our little township in New Jersey celebrated its centennial.  In addition to the parades and getting to dress up in period costume, I remember burying a time capsule at our elementary school.  We put in newspapers, books, and photos, all destined to be discovered by other school children in another hundred years.  (I wonder whether schoolchildren today would recognize what a newspaper is, less than twenty years later!)Baby

My sister and I would often create time capsules for ourselves, filled with toys and knick knacks.  We sealed them up tightly with tape and marked in bold letters: “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL JANUARY 1, 2000!”  Hmm, I wonder whatever happened to those!

In any case, before my little Monkey’s first birthday, we decided to create time capsule for him.  While this idea is designed for a first birthday, if your child is older, there is no reason it can’t be used for a later birthday instead.

What to Include

We wrote to my little Monkey’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends, and asked them to send us notes to include in the time capsule.  We also asked those attending his birthday party to bring notes for the time capsule with them.  We gave them some idea of what we were looking for, but it was so much fun to see what they came up with.  Here are some ideas:Newborn shoes

– Photos of the person/family, including with the birthday child

For example, my mother put together a really sweet little photo album of my little Monkey with her and my father.

– The person’s memories of when the birthday child was born

What child doesn’t love hearing about how excited people were when s/he was born?

– Favorite memories of time spent with the child

Again, what a treat for the child to read in the future about how much Auntie loved to read stories with him or take him to the park.

– A verbal snapshot of the person or family at the time of the birthday

My grandparents, guessing that they would not be around when my little Monkey opened the time capsule at age fifteen, wrote a beautiful letter to him that, in a way, introduced themselves to him, telling him about their lives.  I imagine this letter will be one of the most treasured items in the time capsule.Baby bib, block, pacifier

– The person’s memories of when they reached the age the child will be when the time capsule is opened

My sister-in-law wrote a really wonderful letter to my little Monkey, telling him all about what a great age fifteen was for her and giving him her best wishes for the upcoming year.  She also had fun imagining what he would be like as a fifteen year old.

You can also include any mementos you wish – clothes, toys, etc.  Be creative!

When to Open

Pick a future birthday that is meaningful to you.  For some this will be 18, when the child reaches adulthood.  For others it may be “sweet sixteen.”  For us it was age fifteen, since this is a significant birthday in the Baha’i Faith, the age when a person is considered to have reached spiritual maturity.

It is difficult but exciting to imagine my little Monkey as a fifteen year old boy, opening his time capsule.  I hope he will enjoy reading the letters and seeing the mementos, but above all I hope he feels the love and joy they express, sentiments that I’m sure will grow right along with him.

BIrthday Girl Throwing Confetti

This post has been shared at Made in a Day’s Made U Look Linky, Taming the Goblin’s Kids Co-op, Bowdabra’s Saturday Showcase, Natural Mothers Network’s Seasonal Celebration Sunday, One Creative Mommy’s One Creative Weekend, and Say Not Sweet Anne’s Sweet Sharing Monday.

  11 Responses to “Milestones: The Birthday Time Capsule”

  1. What a cute idea 🙂 for our daughter’s first and second birthdays we put together a video/slideshow put to music and with captions showing her milestones for thr hear. First trips, visits with loved ones, first steps, etc. Sadly we did not continue beyond the first two years. We are bad like that 😛

    • How sweet! Yes, these things are hard to keep up, especially something like the videos you describe, which take so much work! Another way to look at it is that the videos were something special you did just for those early years!

  2. What a great idea! I’m hosting a linky party “One Creative Weekend” at OneCreativeMommy.com. I’d love for you to visit and link up this idea and/or anything else you’d like to share.

  3. I love this idea. How special it will be for your son to read all these notes from people who have cared so much about him since he was little. I especially like how your sister-in-law imagined what he will be like at 15. I think it will be fun for all of you to compare that to the 15 year old he becomes.

    • Thank you! Yes, I had a lot of fun putting it together, imagining him opening the box on his 15th birthday. And even though in many ways he’s already changed so much in the year and a half since we did the time capsule, at the same time much of his little personality is the same. It will be interesting to see how it evolves by the time he is a teenager! Thanks for the visit!

  4. I’m so glad you linked this up at One Creative Weekend! I love it! I hope to see you back tomorrow.

  5. I had the same idea when my son was a baby! He is now 22 years old… I kept coins, stamps, newspaper clippings, and other dated items. I added more each year and he opened an ongoing time capsule when he was 21 🙂

    • How fun! I love the idea of making it ongoing. And I hadn’t thought about coins and stamps. We do have the newspaper from the day he was born, but I believe that ended up in his baby book, not the time capsule. What a great idea! I’d love to know what your son thought about it when he opened it!

  6. […] fun with these silly games!  For more ideas you can also look at our annual birthday book, and the birthday time capsule we do on a child’s first birthday, for him to open on his fifteenth […]

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