mom and baby celebrating the first birthday with cake and party hats, and perhaps a 1st birthday time capsule

Baby’s 1st Birthday Time Capsule Ideas

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What Exactly IS a First Birthday Time Capsule and What Goes Into One?

Thinking about putting together a 1st birthday time capsule to memorialize your baby’s first year?

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a shoebox (or maybe a tote) full of keepsakes from your child.

The hospital bracelets, the baby clothes, pacifiers, toys and other things you just couldn’t quite part with even though your child had outgrown them.

Instead of keeping those special things in the corner of your closet in a dusty old shoebox, consider creating a 1st birthday time capsule for your child to give to them when they’re older.

Ready? Let’s discover what a 1st birthday time capsule is, what to include in it, how to make it, and when to give it to your child.

baby eating cake with a text overlay that reads: first birthday ideas for baby's time capsule

What Is a Time Capsule?

A 1st birthday time capsule is a sweet way to save memorabilia to give your children later.

You can decide when exactly you want to give your child their box, but many choose to do so around graduation or as they’re heading off to college.

You can include special items from their birth and 1st year of life, but you should also include something special from their first birthday that the guests contribute.

You might have them contribute an item or a note, or leave it up to them to decide how to contribute. 

First Birthday Time Capsule Box

Wondering what kind of box you need to put the capsule items in? Honestly, you could use any box you already have at home if funds are tight.

But if you can afford it, a wooden memory box will last longer — and you can even have it personalized with your kiddo’s name and/or birth information, or you could even have a custom message inscribed on the box.

Check out my favorite first birthday time capsule boxes and see if any catch your eye!

What Should I Put in the Capsule?

Not sure what all to include in your baby’s first birthday time capsule? Consider the following.

1. Hospital Items

Bracelets, swaddles, name tags, etc. Whatever you kept from the hospital can go in here.

2. Birthday invitation

Whether you made your own or even ordered them online, it can be special to keep a copy of the invitation to remember the exact time and day of the party, as well as the theme.

3. Party Photos

One fun idea is to place disposable cameras on the tables for the guests to use, and then develop that film. You can also record your relatives and create a DVD instead.

Other ideas are:

  • a selfie booth
  • paying a professional photographer to take pictures
  • designating someone to photograph your family all day

4. Guest List

You can take attendance at the party with guest books, by saving birthday cards, or by going off of what your guests brought for the time capsule. Type it out or save the signed pieces of paper and add them to the box.

5. Newspaper

This one could be fun if there is exciting or special news on your baby’s first birthday. It’s even more special if you saved the newspaper from the day they were born, so that you’d have both.

However, if the headline is bad news, you may decide to skip this step or check a different newspaper. 

6. Party Decorations

You may want to save special decorations from your party as a reminder of the theme and activities you did that day. 

7. Cake Topper

The cake topper is another item you could save from the party. It’s small and will remind you of the cake you, your loved one, a bakery, or Walmart worked so hard to make. 

8. Birthday Cards

If you receive any birthday cards from close friends or relatives that you want to keep, you can add them to the capsule. Cards from grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

9. First Birthday Outfit

Their first birthday is a fun reason to get a new outfit, get dressed up, and look so adorable. You may decide to keep that little outfit and add it in.

10. Gifts From Guests

This one is a lot of fun! The guests that you have at the party should be able to contribute, and there are a lot of ways they can do that.

They can all write little letters of advice or encouragement or they can bring an item that reminds them of your child.

You could even make a video of them wishing your baby a happy birthday. Whatever you decide, let them add their own contribution to the capsule if possible. 

11. Time Capsule Letter

(More on this one shortly!)

12. Toys

Things like rattles, blankets, stuffed animals, or beginner books are great additions to the time capsule.

13. Pacifiers

If your child used a pacifier or bottle, you can keep one of those or even a pacifier clip to add.

14. Favorite Baby Outfits

You may have had a few outfits throughout that first year that you just loved on your little one. Keep that look their signature look and add those pieces to their box. 

15. Newborn Photos

If you got any professional photos done, or had your photos taken by the hospital, you can add either a few or all of them, depending on how many there are. 

16. Photos From the First Year

Gather all of your photos together and choose your favorites to add to the box. 

17. Home Floor Plan / Photo

You may live in the house you’re in now for your baby’s entire life, or you may be in a small apartment hoping to grow.

Either way, it’ll be fun to have a photo of the house your baby spent their first year in. You can take a picture of their bedroom, or get a floor plan and write some notes on it.

87. Hand or Footprint

Your little one is so small at birth, but will grow so much in that first year. It’s fun to compare their hand and foot sizes from birth to see how much they have grown in the first year, and they will enjoy looking back at that, too!

19. Top 10 Charts

This one is for the musical families. Who knows what hit is in the top 10 that day that may stick around.

You might even end up playing it at their graduation or other special events!

It will also be fun for your child to listen back to that music to see how much it’s changed and evolved.

20. Family Tree (So Far)

Although the family may continue to grow after your child is born, a current family tree will be exciting to look at years down the road.

What Do You Write in a Baby’s Time Capsule Letter?

Continuing on from #11 above… What exactly do you write in a time capsule letter?

You may want to develop a loose outline before beginning to write your letter, or you may just be looking for some ideas.

When you are ready to begin your letter, make sure you write directly to your child, using their name.

  • Explain why you are writing to them. Tell them that you’re putting together a time capsule for them to open when they get older.
  • Express your feelings in the moment, are you excited for them? Nervous for them? How are you feeling on their first birthday, and how do you think you’ll feel when they open this?
  • Share any sweet or funny memories you have of them from that first year of life.
  • If you put any objects in the time capsule that need further explanation, you can do that now.
  • Offer any advice or words of wisdom to them that they can take with them after they open their box.
  • Lastly, take time to tell them how much you love them, and what your hopes and dreams for them and their life are.

There you have it! Now you know what a 1st birthday time capsule is, when and how to make it, what to include in it, and when to give it to your child.

Remember that the uniqueness of the time capsule is what makes it special.

No one child will receive the same one as another. If you find other things that aren’t on the list, or want to do it a little differently, by all means, go for it!

The point of the gift is to make something special just for your child. You can include as many or as few of these suggestions as you would like.

And now it’s time to grab your time capsule box and get to work!

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