Memories are made of this

Would you sometimes like to freeze-frame time? Those funny things kids say are priceless, but often quickly forgotten. A recorded interview is a wonderful keepsake, giving you something to laugh and cry over in years to come. And kids can build their own memory bank with a time capsule crammed with their special treasure to remind them of the way they were. Read on . . .



You’ll need:

• Recording device such as a camera or phone

• Cosy area to set as a stage

• Notepad and pen

• Interview questions


There are options for how to do this. You can either take the role of the interviewer, in or out of shot. Or you can all huddle into the frame as a family and each take a set of questions, so that you play the interviewer and interviewee as well. Whatever you choose, you’ll need a set of questions. See our list of question ideas below. It’s fine to go off on tangents in response to your child’s answers as it can open up the conversation, adds more detail and often reveals the thinking behind their views.

• Name and age?

• What is your favourite colour?

• What thing are you really good at?

• What is your favourite toy?

• What do you want to do when you grow up?

• What pets do you have?

• What is your favourite book?

• What is your favourite TV series?

• What is your favourite film?

• What is your favourite animal?

• What do you want to learn?

• Do you know any other languages?

• Can you sing your favourite song?

• What is your favourite outfit?

• Which toys do you play with most?

• What is your favourite memory?

• What is your favourite drink?

• What is your favourite food?

• What do you love most about yourself?

• What is your favourite family activity?

• What makes you really happy?

• What advice would you give your future self?

Setting up

Set up a comfy spot for the interview. The sofa is an ideal place to fit everyone on, but a bedroom is good too, giving kids the chance to look back in the future at books, posters, toys and games in the background. If setting up elsewhere, pop a few favourite toys or cuddlies in view of the camera as seeing much-loved toys again is just as important as the answers to the questions.

Record, store, copy

A video camera may seem clunky, but at least it means you don’t need to worry about balancing your phone. Whatever you use, be sure to back up –or you could send the file to family, or someone you trust completely, and ask them to save it for a rainy day.


• Ask your child to hold up any recent drawings or art projects for the camera

• Let your child choose the location of the interview to make them feel more comfortable

• Try an outdoor interview, perhaps on a family holiday when you’ll all feel more relaxed

• Turn the tables and suggest your child is the interviewer. You may be amazed at what you said in years to come


What you need to make the capsule:

• Two large plastic drinks bottles

• Spray paint

• Tape

• Card for a label

• Photos and printed questionnaires

• Small keepsakes and trinkets

What you might include:

• Completed questionnaires

• Small toys (not favourites)

• Tiny keepsakes

• Play jewellery

• Hand and footprints

• Artwork

• Photos of pets

• Family portrait

• Plans for the future

• Favourite meals and recipes

• Inspirational quotes

•Pressed flowers from your garden

• Natural treasures (like pebbles, nothing that can rot or go mouldy)

• Labels from favourite foods

• Newspaper clippings

• Birthday and anniversary cards

Making the capsule

Plastic bottles offer ample room for knick-knacks and rolled up paper and photos. Carefully cut two old plastic drinks bottles in half with a kitchen knife and sand the sharp edges. Next, spray paint them silver. Now, simply fill one bottle with your keepsakes, slightly squeeze the edge, push the other bottle over the top and tape together. You could add a label and if you have laminating pouches you can laminate the label to ensure it stays legible for a few years.

Saving treasure

Be sure not to put anything inside that you will miss, as once it is sealed you must all agree to keep it that way until the date of the grand opening. Take your time collecting bits and pieces over a few weeks. For very young children, see if they can find enough small treasures to fill a matchbox, as small eyes often find tiny things that pass grown-ups by.


An attic can be a safe,dry place to store your capsule, but if your attic is chaotic or hard to access, another place where it won’t get damp, crushed (or opened before time!) will work just as well.


• Set a date for for some point in the future to have a family gathering and open up your history from an old plastic bottle

• You could always make one each

Taken from Adventures at Home: 40 Ways to Make Happy Family Memories by Zoë Lake, £20, Pimpernel Press. bookshops).

Follow Zoë on instagram @zoe__lake and Pimpernel Press @pimpernel_press



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