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How to Make a COVID-19 Time Capsule

Preserve your experience at this moment in history

May 14, 2020

You’re living through an unprecedented historical moment right now. It currently might seem a bit un-momentous, but it’s true.  It’s crazy to imagine that while we sit home looking for things to do, history is recording how countries, cities, and humans react to the challenge of a global pandemic. The story of how this unfolds will fascinate those who read about us in books generations from now.  What do we want them to know?  What do YOU want to remember about this period in your life?  Check out these ideas about how to capture your experiences by creating a COVID-19 time capsule.

Make a time capsule to tell your story during this time.Make a time capsule to tell your story during this time.

What’s a time capsule?

It’s a container that holds objects representing a specific period in time.  The container itself can be anything from a box to a jar to an actual capsule.  If you’re planning on burying it in the backyard, as some people do, you’ll want something waterproof and airtight.  If you plan to stick it in the attic or the back of a closet, a box is fine.  Once you fill it, the point is to hide it away long enough for you or someone else to find it in the future. After you figure out what you want your artifacts to be stored in, plan on including a letter telling whoever finds your capsule what it is.  Also in this note, describe each item inside.

You'll want to use a container that's sealproof and waterproof if you plan to bury it.You'll want to use a container that's sealproof and waterproof if you plan to bury it.

What should you put inside? 

Pretend you’re someone from the future.  Step back and think—What should people see when they’re transported back to this time?  That’s what you want to fill your capsule with.  Consider the following list.  Remember to describe in your letter why you’re including these items.

  • A couple squares of toilet paper
  • An empty bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Evidence of games you played with friends online or family, like a score card
  • A drawing of a rainbow you may have placed in your window
  • A handprint tracing of everyone in your family

Include a photo of your family during this time.Include a photo of your family during this time.
  • A printout of mask-making instructions, or an actual mask (if you can spare one)
  • A list of shows and movies you’ve binge-watched
  • Newspaper or magazine articles with headlines about the virus (including positive ones)
  • Any object signifying whatever’s meaningful and important to you right now
  • Photos of: Scenes from your neighborhood, talking to friends online, rainbow trails, you, your family, etc.

Hand sanitizer is a hot commodity--Explain why in your time capsule letter.Hand sanitizer is a hot commodity--Explain why in your time capsule letter.

What else can you include?

If you feel extra inspired, you can include a video or written interview of yourself.  Answer questions like: 

  • What is the date?
  • How old are you?  How tall are you?  Who are your friends right now?  What do you want to be when you’re older?
  • What are your favorite things right now (favorite color, food, etc.)?
  • Where are you sheltering in place?  With who?
  • How do you feel right now?
  • How has this affected school?
  • What has changed the most/least?

Include a rainbow in your time capsule and describe how it was used as a sign of hope.Include a rainbow in your time capsule and describe how it was used as a sign of hope.
  • What positive things have come from this?   Have you learned anything from this experience so far?
  • What do you miss most?
  • What are you doing to pass the time?  What do you do to cope?
  • What are you most worried about?
  • What would you like to do first when this is all over?
  • What are you most thankful for?

If you’d rather, you can fill out a COVID-19 time capsule workbook.  An online search will turn up a few different options for you to download.

Downloadable time capsule workbooks are available online.Downloadable time capsule workbooks are available online.Courtesy of Natalie Long

Whether you want the adult “you” to find the capsule, or want someone unknown to stumble upon it, it should illustrate a little piece of your life and history during the pandemic.  Hopefully when we look back on this time, history will describe how everyone came together and became stronger in the end. 

Hopefully history will remember how we all came together during this time.Hopefully history will remember how we all came together during this time.
Share With Kidzworld

What would you put in your time capsule?  Tell Kidzworld in the space below!