Happy woman and her little daughter are looking through photos and smiling while sitting on couch.

How to Make a Family Time Capsule – Photo Project

There are certain moments I wish that I could package up and remember forever. I want a dedicated compartment in my brain where I can unlock the special, memorable moments and watch them unfold again. (Wouldn't that be amazing on hard days?)

I'm not the mom who keeps a written log of milestones where you jot down the cute things your kid does, the funny things she's said, and the date they all happened. But I am a mom who takes pictures.

Family Time Capsule Ideas That Use Photography

Although I can't go back in time to re-watch the past, I can document the here and now with my child. I want to capture our life not only from my perspective but from hers as well.

The camera is my favorite way to document our special moments. Today I'll share some ideas for how you can use the photos you take to make a family time capsule, and then you can have your own little way to step back in time.

child walking towards mom taking photo
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Family Time Capsule Photography Project

One of our favorite activities we've done together is put together a time capsule – something special for just her and me.

The gist of the project is to talk to your children about some of your favorite things to do together: for us, that was saving earthworms, going out for ice cream, and playground playdates, and then taking time capsule pictures of the activities.

Gathering Photos for the Time Capsule:

  • You could choose to do this project with each child separately or choose to do it together as a family unit.
  • Choose a day to do a few of your favorite things together.
  • On your photo day, just enjoy your time together and take pictures. Connect through these activities and capture little details throughout.

We set the goal to have about 20-30 pictures at the end of our adventures.

Fun Ideas for Taking Your Time Capsule Photos

1. Shoot From the Hip

This is one of my favorite games because the results are sometimes surprising. During this activity you and your kids are not allowed to look through the viewfinder. Hold your camera at hip level, finger on the shutter, and simply shoot. The perspective, light, and focus in these are always so unique and some of my favorite shots are taken in this way. I often surprise myself thinking nothing will turn out when I don't look through my viewfinder, but something always does.  You could even take turns doing this activity with your kids and compare/contrast your results with theirs.

2. Highlight Reel

Take a few moments to run through your childhood photos in your mind. Or pull out old photo albums and take a look through them with your kids. Find a memory or a series of photographs that speak to your heart that you’d like to recreate in a photograph in some way. Then, get going with brainstorming how to make that happen.  Plan wardrobe, costumes, location, posing, etc. Then, have your kids step in as the ‘actors’ for this shoot and create a generational gift that is sure to make your entire family smile.

3. Photo Transformations

You can invite your child to try this creative technology-based idea. One of the best parts of the photography process is not simply taking the photos but turning them into something amazing once they're snapped. Kids and parents alike can have fun using an online photo editor like PicMonkey or Canva to apply simple pops of color, effects, stickers, images and text for a truly creative burst. Work together to make a comic, a collage, or a photo story about your activities.

Creating the Time Capsule:

Next was the fun part. Creating the time capsule. There are two ways to do this, depending on what you feel like doing:

Option 1- Printed Family Time Capsule:

Print the images and place them in a sealed envelope. Or make a quick photo book with the pictures. You could get creative and bury the capsule outdoors if you wish, or simply tuck the images away in a closet in your house. Set a date a few years in the future to unearth them and look at them with your child.

Option 2: Digital Time Capsule Ideas for Your Photos:

Save the images to the cloud (Dropbox would work well for this) and then write a letter with your child on Future Me. Be sure to include a direct link to your Dropbox folder of images in the letter! Schedule the letter to send to you in the future!

Photos may not tell the full story of our life, and they aren't that highlight reel I'd love to install in my brain, but they're the perfect start.

Photos are the key to more conversation and deeper connection as a family.

Where will you let photography lead you and your child? What memories will you capture together?

Author: Beryl Ayn Young

Expertise: Photography, Writing, Self-care, Creativity

Beryl Ayn Young is a photographer, a self-care coach, and a creativity catalyst. She leads workshops and helps people create more confidence through being creative.