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How to capture family memories with a COVID-19 time capsule

Last Modified: 4/10/2020

Family time

This post was written by Erin Norton, RN, BSN, MBA, director of Community Outreach, Parkview Women’s & Children’s Service Line.

These are wild times. For many of us, all we can think about is COVID-19. It is affecting almost every part of our daily lives. Someday, though, this will all be a memory – something that happened in the past that we all got through, together.

The internet is full of ideas on games and activities for preschool and school-age children. But what about babies and women who are about to give birth? This is a very interesting time for them. These little ones will have lived through a momentous, historic time, but likely won’t remember any of it!

Capture the moment

What if you made something to help your family remember the significance of this time? Parkview’s Women’s and Children’s Community Health Worker team came up with a list of items to include in a COVID-19 time capsule. Keep in mind that you don’t need to spend any money or make any special trips. What will really make it special are the stories you’ll tell along with each of the items years from now. 

Gather everything, put the items in a box, and then stick it in the attic or back of a closet to be forgotten. Years from now, you’ll have an amazing discovery to share with your family.

Some potential items to include: 

  • Lysol wipe
  • A couple squares of toilet paper
  • List of the shows you binge-watched on Netflix
  • Recipe for a dish you made using creative substitutions
  • Evidence of games or activities you did as a family, like a Yahtzee score card
  • Handprint tracing of everyone in the family
  • Description of the craziest or most out-of-the-box game or activity you created together
  • A tally sheet for the number of times you read a favorite book to your baby or child
  • A letter to your baby describing how you’re feeling and what life is like
  • A list of questions adapted from typical baby books. For example, the longest amount of time you went without leaving the house, or the number of stores that didn’t have toilet paper in stock.
Word play

For more fun, have each family member complete the following Mad Lib:

It was a (ADJECTIVE) day in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic really started making the news. My family stayed inside for (NUMBER) days. We practiced social distancing responsibly and didn’t come within (NUMBER) (UNIT OF MEASUREMENT) (DISTANCE/LENGTH) of other people. Some people were concerned about running out of toilet paper, but we were prepared to use our (ITEM OF CLOTHING) if we ran out. Our favorite snack was (COLOR) (FOOD) which we would eat after we (TYPE OF EXERCISE) safely in our living rooms. Instead of visiting friends, we watched (ANIMAL) outside of our windows. We saw what (CELEBRITY), (CELEBRITY), and (CELEBRITY) were saying about the virus on social media, but we listened to health officials instead. We got tired of being at home, but had heard the virus was worse in (FICTIONAL PLACE). It was a tough time, but we made it through!

Free downloads

Download and print these PDFs to capture the emotions and memories associated with the coronavirus pandemic and this time of social distancing (and maybe even have a little fun). 

Journal pages

Activity pages

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