Time capsules are a wonderful way to honor and celebrate your child’s growth. Who doesn’t love reminiscing when you open the time capsule and look back at all the items you thought important enough to include? With the pending school year on the horizon, this is a great time to start a time capsule tradition in your family. Get a fun box to put all the items in, grab a lock (to prevent early peeking) and start your own annual family tradition of loading up that time capsule.

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Start Early

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Start your time capsule as early as possible. Try beginning as soon as kindergarten, then add a new item or two every year. As you continue to add items, it becomes a fascinating documentation of your child’s interests over the years. You can even make a back to school tradition of adding something new to the capsule on the first day of school each year. Then, when the final back to school day comes around (your child’s senior year of high school), spend some time as a family going through the capsule together. The memories will come flooding back and you’ll have so much fun going through those cherished possessions together.

Decorate Your Capsule

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Once you’ve started the capsule, let your kids have fun decorating the box in the style of his or her unique personality. Get some stickers, markers, paints, glitter and any other craft supplies your kid likes at your local store, then let him go nuts decorating the outside of the box. You can also pick up lots of fun three dimensional stickers in the scrapbooking section of your craft store. You may be surprised at how many specific stickers are available out there. Once the box is decorated, you can throw on a coat of decoupage to make that décor last a lifetime.

Write A Letter

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Start out the capsule with a letter. Have your child write a letter to his or her future self. They can say anything they want in the letter, but it would be the perfect time to talk about what they hope for the future and why they selected these specific items for the time capsule. You could have your child write a letter every year, or just start out with a letter the first time you pack the time capsule. When you open the time capsule during your child’s senior year of high school, you’ll have a cherished memory to read together, which is sure to help inspire your kid to finish out the school year on top.

News Clippings

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Don’t forget to throw in some news clippings and other current event items into the time capsule every year. You can also include magazine clippings that your child enjoyed, books he or she loved to read, flyers for their summer camp programs and dance or music recital flyers and programs. You can even include things like old birthday cards or party invitations from his or her classmates. It’s the perfect way to show the passage of time in the capsule, while also collecting even more cherished memories to explore together later.

Store The Capsule

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Once you have completed building your family time capsule, you’ll need to find a location to keep it — one that isn’t too temping to open early during the next year. If you have a backyard, you could dig a small hole to bury the capsule, just be sure to mark the location with a flag or rock so you know where to dig for it in the future. Or you could find a place in the basement, attic or garage where the time capsule will be out of sight but accessible for the following year. Where ever you decide to keep your new back to school time capsule, just be sure it’s secure and that you remember where it is, then you’ll enjoy revisiting that capsule annually, to go through memories, add some more memories and create lots of cherished family time together.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.