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Vacation Time Capsule Game: A Fun Family Tradition

Every year, our family vacations in the same spot. We play this time capsule game every summer!

Every year, our family vacations in the same spot. We play this time capsule game every summer!

Our Family Vacation Time Capsule Game

Vacation Time Capsules are a great family tradition that anyone can start. My children love creating our time capsule every year. It is fun to create it, fun to bury it, and very exciting to dig it up the following year to read our messages from the past. It refreshes your memory and reminds of things you may have forgotten. It is a great idea for any family who visits the same area each year!

My family hiking to retrieve our Time Capsule from 2011.

My family hiking to retrieve our Time Capsule from 2011.

How to Make a Family Vacation Time Capsule Tradition

You will need a container to hold your messages, three Ziploc bags (or similar), and duct tape.

  1. Fold your messages small enough to fit into the container that you are using. Then place the messages into the first Ziploc bag. Make sure to get as much air out of the bag as possible.
  2. Place the first sealed Ziploc bag into a second bag. Make sure to get as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it.
  3. Put the sealed messages into your container. If you are using a plastic bottle you may want to wrap duct tape around the lid to ensure a good seal.
  4. Once the bottle/container is sealed, place it into the last Ziploc bag. Seal the bag as tightly as possible. You may also want to wrap some duct tape around any area that you think water may find its way through.
  5. You are now ready to bury your time capsule!
  6. Come back in one year to retrieve it and read your messages from the past!

Writing Your Time Capsule Messages

My family sits down near the end of our vacation week to write our messages for our time capsule. We do not share with anyone else what we are writing, with the exception of the younger kids who need some assistance. We only write about things we experienced during the week of our vacation. It can include things that we thought were fun, funny things that may have happened, things we thought were special, and anything else we want to remember for next year.

Once the messages are completed, they are folded up and the name of the person who wrote it is written on the outside. This way it is easy to hand them out to the right person the following year without having to unfold each message.

A few times I had tried to remember what I wrote in my message but it is not that easy. But that is the whole fun in reading them especially when those memories hit you as if they happened yesterday!

My daughter writing her time capsule message

My daughter writing her time capsule message

Uncovering Your Time Capsule

My family enjoys walking through the woods to uncover our time capsule from the previous year. It is always fun trying to remember exactly where we buried it in the woods and it is very exciting when we see it again!

Our 2011 vacation family time capsule.

Our 2011 vacation family time capsule.

Reading Our Messages From the Past

Once we find our time capsule, we cannot wait to return to our cabin to read our messages from the past. Each person reads what they wrote out loud. It is funny to hear what everyone wrote the previous year. It is good to relive the memories again, especially the memories that we may have forgotten throughout the year!

Messages from time capsules.

Messages from time capsules.

Old Messages

Once all the previous year's messages are read, we put them all together in a safe place. When we return home from vacation, we place them in a memory box to enjoy whenever wish to relive the memories we wrote about.

Distance Between Home and Our Time Capsule

Our time capsule is located about 120 miles from our home. We only travel to the area once a year for our family vacation. The distance between us and the time capsule makes it easier to not dig it up early. The whole family anticipates retrieving the time capsule all year long until we arrive in the area again!

Family Traditions

This is a family tradition that we have been doing for the past four years. The children love doing this as much as we do. We look forward to continuing this family tradition for years to come!


TeachableMoments from California on August 24, 2012:

Voted up, beautiful, interesting and useful. Why have I never thought of this before?! This is a wonderful idea. I love it. My daughter loves hearing stories from the past and often requests a "true story" right before bed. She would get a kick out of writing her own note, placing it in the time capsule, and digging it up in the future. My daughter would be an active participant which makes the experience all the more memorable. I'm going to make this a new tradition. Thanks for the idea.

Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on August 19, 2012:

Very lovely family tradition, very unique and fun! I'm sure the kids have so much to look forward collecting and a great way to reconnect them back to nature. I'm linking my hub "Kids Playtime Just Like When We Were Small"... families would love to know of your very creative family fun. Congrats for being the Hub of the Day!

Felicia Vasquez from New Mexico on August 16, 2012:

I love this idea!! Its a great idea! thanks for sharing

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on August 15, 2012:

P.S. I thought this was such a great idea, that it reminded me of the hobby of geocaching, and I've written a hub about that hobby, and linked your article.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on August 15, 2012:

My family enjoys hiking and trekking, but we never had any idea of vacation time capsule. Well, there is always the next time.

Thank you for sharing a great concept through a read friendly hub.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on August 15, 2012:

This is such a wonderful idea. I'm definitely doing this. My husband and I have a special vacation spot that we go to every year. It would be so cool to bury a time capsule and retrieve it each year, adding an even higher level of anticipation and enjoyment to the trip.

Congratulations on receiving Hub of the Day!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on August 15, 2012:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day!!

What an interesting idea! This is not something I'd have thought to do when my kids were young. Commonly, time capsules are placed at public buildings, when the foundation is laid, and intended to be found or retrieved some 50-100 years later.

I imagine you do have to be careful where you bury it: that you have permission if it's on private property. Of course, if it's your own property, there's no problem. In national and state (or other public-lands) parks, digging and burying things is probably strongly discouraged if not outright illegal.

That said, this still sounds like a very enjoyable activity, and sure to keep a family close-knit. Thanks for sharing your special tradition. Voted up, interesting, awesome and shared.

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on August 15, 2012:

Now this is an unusual family tradition which could be duplicated with some minor changes for many situations. Thanks for sharing it with all of our hub page readers.

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on August 15, 2012:

What a cute idea for a young family. My daughter would have that that was pretty cool. My kids are teenagers, so they would look at me like I was nuts if I tried the capsule now. So happy for you on your HOTD!

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on August 15, 2012:

This is really a fun idea, especially for places that's often visited.

Thanks for sharing, and congrats on the HOTD award. Voted Interesting.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 15, 2012:

This is a really nice family activity. Fresh and original idea!

Sophie from United Kingdom on August 15, 2012:

Wow, this is such a great idea!

Once I will have children, I will do this with them, soooo interesting. And we can feel like a bit of Indiana Jones :).

Voted up + interesting!

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 15, 2012:

This is a great idea for the whole family. This is a great way to reflect on the vacation and create a stronger bond.

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on August 08, 2012:

Thanks Simone! I would definately consider doing it with your family! You can even do it at a yearly family picnic! It is a lot of fun!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on August 08, 2012:

This is so incredibly cool- and such a fun thing to do as a group, too! Love the idea and hope to get my family together to do this as well.

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on July 29, 2012:

leahlefler - Thanks for reading! It is really exciting to return each year for our time capsule and it is perfect for vacation spots that are visisted each year.

We meet many people each year from New York while vacationing. I know my kids have made many friends from up you way!!

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on July 29, 2012:

SidKemp - Thank you! I think it is a great idea for you and wife to make your own time capsule! I know my family would not be able to resist digging it up early. I am sure you will really enjoy it!

Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on July 29, 2012:

Love this idea! It's something that the whole family can enjoy. I think we'll try this at our next family reunion. Timeless...and Awesome.

Patty Kenyon from Ledyard, Connecticut on July 29, 2012:

Very Interesting!!! That is a GREAT idea to capture memories!!!

Emma Kisby from Berkshire, UK on July 28, 2012:

I'd love to do this, its such a fantastic thing to do.

Love this hub - voting up and awesome :)

Leah Lefler from Western New York on July 28, 2012:

What a fun idea! Your time capsule is located fairly close to where we live, Jill! I love this as it is a great way to relive past vacations, and is an exciting thing to do when you return to the same vacation spot every year.

Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on July 28, 2012:

What a wonderful idea, and so beautifully shared. Voted up and awesome, and shared. My wife and I will have to try a version of this. We don't travel much, so maybe we'll bury the capsule in our own back yard. Resisting the temptation to dig it up early would be part of the fun.