what to put in a newborn time capsule ?
March 22, 2009 11:36 AM   Subscribe

My nephew/niece is due any minute now. I'm planning a "do not open until 2019" sealed box. Besides newspapers of the day and screenshots of a few websites and bearing in mind that I live in Belgium, what would you put in his/her time capsule ?
posted by Baud to Education (24 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
How about a mixed CD of some of 2009's popular tunes?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:39 AM on March 22, 2009

A couple of first edition children's novels — something suitable for a ten-year-old? Coins minted this year?
posted by orange swan at 11:44 AM on March 22, 2009

I would suggest a clothing catalog or fashion magazine. It's always fun to see what odd things people used to wear and even better if it shows the prices.
posted by Ugh at 11:50 AM on March 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Some Euros minted in 2009.
A toy made for a ten-year-old, perhaps from the Toy Museum.
And if you can find it, a Hostess Twinkee, although these are rumored to last 20-years.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 11:51 AM on March 22, 2009

Throw in a couple pictures of slick gadgets that will probably be totally dated by then. Phones, computers, stuff like that. Try to predict what the world will actually be like in 2019, so that everyone can have a laugh when you're totally wrong. Seconding books and (especially) music. Also, consider making one for when he/she is 15, too. He/she will be able to appreciate it more.
posted by Gotham at 11:52 AM on March 22, 2009

To echo some previous responders: Take an iPod, fill it with all the latest hits and maybe some TV shows and movies, put it in there with a charger and a set of headphones.
posted by puritycontrol at 11:59 AM on March 22, 2009

Whatever this year's hot toy for 10-year-olds is.

A nice, somewhat-interesting hat (which will fit a variety of kids' heads).

A letter from you to him.

A detailed story about how his parents chose his name. Be sure to include a list of names he _almost_ got.
posted by amtho at 12:01 PM on March 22, 2009

I'm not sure an iPod would work after 10 years. Would it? Isn't there at least a battery that would die?
posted by amtho at 12:02 PM on March 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A smaller "do not open until 2029" sealed box.
posted by Flunkie at 12:06 PM on March 22, 2009 [12 favorites]

Perhaps pictures of the family home and/or neighborhood? It would be interesting for him/her to see how much it has changed in 10 years.

And to echo Flunkie: a smaller "do not open until 2027" box with a bottle of booze!
posted by sacrifix at 12:25 PM on March 22, 2009

Photos of parents and other family? If you wait until after the birth, a newborn photo, newspaper announcement or horoscope might be a nice touch. A piece of jewelry, or some small item that comes from a prior generation?
posted by epersonae at 12:32 PM on March 22, 2009

For laughs - an issue of Science Magazine circa 2009. They'll be amazed, astounded and incredulous at just how dumb people were back then.
posted by watercarrier at 12:35 PM on March 22, 2009

A ten-year-old is unlikely to appreciate Science...
posted by knile at 12:53 PM on March 22, 2009

Remember in elementary school, the poster on the wall that had all the Presidents on them?
Get an updated one. That, or a savings bond.

(that made me laugh)
posted by QueerAngel28 at 1:20 PM on March 22, 2009

I'd probably put a current world map and some other statistics about the world, population, average income, etc. Amazing how those things can change in a decade and could give the kid some perspective.

A list of the most amazing technology of the year by Time magazine or whatever. Maybe save it until the end of the year and put in as many copies of the "Top 100 whatever" lists you can find.

Copies of the award winning books of the year (fiction, non-fiction, poetry)

There's a very good chance that any electronics, including a CD would be useless lumps in 10 years, especially if they're not in controlled storage. I wouldn't put anything with a battery in a box for ten years. It's likely to explode/corrode and destroy the rest of the box.

If it were my box a big label on the outside that says "no money or candy inside" would have been the only thing that would have kept me from opening before the due date.

And an heirloom, just so they don't feel ripped off by getting a box of moldy old "newspapers" and what the hell is a "web site"?
posted by Ookseer at 1:39 PM on March 22, 2009

I'm sorry to say this, but if I were your niece/nephew I wouldn't be glad to receive such a thing. Sounds like a pain, to me, something I would be forced to carry around for fear that Uncle Baud would ask me about it come the day.

In the end, who really wants a sealed box full of newspapers? Would you?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:48 PM on March 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

He/she will be ten years old. Toys, toys, toys. 2009 limited addition items? But ten years isn't really that big of a span and ten year olds won't really grasp the significance of the gesture. At twenty years of age, he/she would be more likely to appreciate the items so consider a 20 year span instead.

What I would include.

Several items from Hot Topic like t-shirts and/or stickers.

An unopend Hostess Twinkie.

Several unopend music CD's (probably an extinct format in twenty years right along with the Ipod).

A newspaper from date of birth (definitely an extinct format in 20 years).

A Gundam model.

Unopened 2009 limited edition Barbie doll.

A 1 oz. 2009 Gold american Eagle (or smaller 2009 gold coin).

Printed photos.

Lots of magazines.

A Swiss Army knife (they are all dated on the blade).

A postcard sent to him /her on his/her actual date of birth. Be sure to use interesting postage stamps as they also will probably be extinct in twenty years).
posted by Muirwylde at 3:19 PM on March 22, 2009

In the next couple of days, go around and interview Mom, Dad, grandparents, yourself and other uncles/aunts, cousins, friends etc. Ask them to talk about themselves, how excited they are to see the new baby, words of advice (suitable for a ten year old), that sort of thing. Burn it to a cd or a flash drive, and be sure to keep a copy of the file yourself in case those media formats are dead. Then sit back, wait for 2019 to roll around, and pray that our robot overlords will allow your nephew/niece to watch a video during the few precious break hours he or she gets from toiling in the energon mines on Mars.
posted by dnesan at 3:36 PM on March 22, 2009

and of course, when I say interview, I mean make videos of the interviews, thus being able to burn those videos to a cd/flash drive.
posted by dnesan at 3:37 PM on March 22, 2009

I disagree with the Chocolate Pickle; I would have been over-the-moon thrilled by this. Nothing saying you have to hand it to the kiddo tomorrow and have her carry it around for the next ten years. It can be a tenth birthday present.

And the smaller "do not open till 2029" box is a brilliant idea.

Magazines will be hilarious.

Maybe just take a bunch of photos to include in a little album--what does your neighborhood look like now? Pictures of streets and shops and maybe the local tourist attraction or whatever. Pictures of yourself, other members of your family, pets...

Again, this is a kickass idea and you are going to be one groovy uncle.
posted by Neofelis at 3:57 PM on March 22, 2009

Similar to dnesan's suggestion above -- when my niece was born in 2005, I solicited everyone in the family to write her a letter. The letter would all go into a box to to be opened on her 21st birthday, telling her about the word she was born into, her parents, and so forth. My thinking was that we would not all be around in 2025 (and it is true, we are down one since then). There are several of my relatives (whom I know only from photos) and who died when I was very young; I would have been thrilled to have some communication with them as an adult.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:59 PM on March 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

What would you like to see from the day/month/year you were born?
What would like to see from exactly 10 years ago?

A lot of this stuff- magazines, newspapers, music, etc- is really easy to find on the internet, which I assume will still exist in 2019. You need stuff that can't be replaced any other way. Photos of you and the nephew/neice's parents on the day he/she is born, a letter, etc.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 5:06 PM on March 22, 2009

Photos of the parents- full body ones, showing them in current outfits, as well as nice close-up portrait shots
A recording (mp3 burned to CD?) of you & the parents talking about the baby
A list of guesses about what life might be like in 2019 (hint: jetpaks!)
Crisp cash in different denominations
This is a nice idea! 10 might be a little young though- I think teenagers might be more likely to "get" this kind of present.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:43 PM on March 22, 2009

ricochet biscuit, that is such a wonderful idea. The thought that if someone had thought to do that I might have correspondence from my great grandmothers (whom I don't remember—one was buried the morning I was born) to me, almost made me cry. (Or my grandparents—but they died six years before I was born, so that wouldn't make sense with the letter writing, but oh how I wish it were possible. Is it strange to miss people you never even met?)
posted by ocherdraco at 7:54 PM on March 22, 2009

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