1) Have the child draw a picture of the family.
2) List some of the child’s dreams or goals for the next year.
3) Have the child answer some simple questions: favorite color, song, toy, Bible verse, celebrity, TV show, food and so forth.
4) Include a photo of the child (on acid-free paper), a photo of the family and a photo of the pet(s), if desired. A photo of the child's bedroom and/or favorite toys might be appreciated down the road too.
5) Add the front page of the newspaper from the child's birthday or New Year's Day.
6) A list of statistics from that day: gas/food prices, top movies, recording artists, TV shows, etc.
7) Add a few fun party items like confetti, a little curling ribbon, a party hat or a noisemaker.
8) Include a note to the child from you, for them to read when they are older. Share the things you love about the child, the values that are important to your family and your hopes for the child's future.
9) Write down some funny or cute things the child has said or done.
10) List the date, the child's age, height and weight. Include a lock of the child's hair, as it will be fun to see if it changes color as they get older.
11) Have the child write a letter to their future self, giving whatever advice they think is important for life.
12) Do NOT include anything containing moisture, as it can leak and ruin the contents.
For safekeeping, store all the goodies in a small plastic bin with a tight lid and put in a safe place for at least five years. It might be helpful to add a note to the top of the bin saying “Top secret! ______’s time capsule—do NOT open until the year ______!” The child can help to decorate the bin with stickers, permanent markers or other decorations.
Though it takes very little money and not a lot of effort, this gift is sure to be enjoyed and treasured for many years!